Irish firm to produce 20,000 tonnes of cheese from Saudi plant

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The Irish Dairy Board Cooperative (IDB) has acquired a 75 percent interest in the Riyadh-based Al Wazeen Trading, as part of a €20 million investment in Saudi Arabia.

The deal includes developing a new cheese-manufacturing plant at the Al Wazeen facility in Riyadh, the company said in a statement.

The level of annual production anticipated from the facility is 20,000 tonnes per annum, an IDB spokesperson told Al Arabiya News.

IDB already has offices in the region including in Algeria, Egypt and Dubai, according to the company’s spokesperson. It exports to over 90 countries worldwide.

Saudi Arabia is the largest importer of dairy products in the Middle East, according to the Dairy 2013 Situation and Outlook report.

IDB’s investment is meant to strengthen its position in Saudi Arabia, according to statements released by the company.

“The short-term concentration is on Saudi. The new center will help develop IDB’s market in the MENA region,” the company spokesperson said.

IDB did not say when the manufacturing plant would start exporting outside Saudi Arabia, as part of the firm’s aim for the facility to become a manufacturing hub for the MENA region.

The investment in Saudi Arabia is considered key to IDB’s strategy to strengthen its access to this “key market”, the company said.

The European Union is set to abolish milk-quota restrictions in April 2015, when markets such as Ireland will be able to boost exports of milk.

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