By Dimitra Manifava
Marfin Investment Group, the owner of food company Vivartia, signed on Thursday a major business deal with Abu Dhabi firm Exeed Industries for the expansion of the Greek enterprise to the Middle East, North Africa and the Persian Gulf through the creation of a consortium aimed at productive and commercial activity.
The agreement highlights Vivartia’s strategy to shift its focus outside Greece’s borders and even beyond the eurozone. Its next target is said to be the Far East, as according to sources the group is already in advanced negotiations for signing a similar agreement in at least one country in that region as well.
The consortium with Exeed Industries will initially concern exporting Vivartia products to the following countries: the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Iraq and Iran.
The construction of a production plant in Abu Dhabi will start in early 2013 with the aim of completion in the second half of the following year. This is a 70-million-euro investment to be located on a 160,000-square meter plot that has already been selected. The UAE plant will produce a broad range of well-known products in the dairy and fruit juice sectors.
The Vivartia-Exeed cooperation will include all of Vivartia’s product line -- Delta, Barba Stathis and Chrisi Zimi -- as well as all brands of the group in the food catering sector -- Goody’s, Everest, LaPasteria and Flocafe.
The aim of the consortium will be to evolve into the leader in the region, which has a dynamic market of more than 330 million consumers and sales of more than 165 million euros per year.
Exeed Industries is a wholly owned subsidiary of Abu Dhabi’s National Holding and is involved in construction materials, textiles and agriculture.
Vivartia is also continuing its expansion to Eastern Europe, having signed franchising deals for its Goody’s, Everest and Flocafe chains in Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
The first outlets will open in Albania and Belarus in the coming weeks.