SAUDI ARABIA – Global F&B conglomerate PepsiCo plans to open one of its largest manufacturing plants in the Saudi city of Jeddah, a senior official has said.
The SIBCO plant in Saudi Arabia is set to open later this year, confirmed Sanjeev Chadha, CEO – Asia, Middle East and North Africa (AMENA) at PepsiCo.
In an exclusive interview, he revealed that the beverages plant will manufacture the company’s wide portfolio of carbonates including Pepsi, Mountain Dew and Mirinda, and its healthy drink brands such as Gatorade.
“The plant is going to be one of the largest in the PepsiCo ecosystem globally,” said Chadha.
While the facility will cater to the entire GCC region, the company is also eyeing the possibility of exporting products to a bigger radius.
“While beverages are heavy, we are starting to transport them as well. They won’t ship very very long distances, but as we are getting on to higher value added products, such as Gatorade – there will be greater possibilities and opportunities for looking at export.
And we are also looking at how do we create infrastructure [required for exports],” he explained.
Last year, Saudi’s King Salman announced that the kingdom had reached an agreement with Egypt to build a bridge over the Red Sea connecting the two countries. Further details have not yet been disclosed.
“If a link is created between Saudi Arabia and Egypt, it will be a massive enabler in terms of being able to do much greater trade across the market in Egypt.
You are opening doors to a market with 90 million people. And we are perfectly positioned in Jeddah. When we set up our plants, we look at such possibilities,” added Chadha.
The CEO also confirmed that a new beverages plant is set to officially open in Dubai this month.
The new Dubai Refreshments Company (DRC) plant in Dubai has already started manufacturing some products, with PepsiCo chairperson and CEO Indra Nooyi set to officially inaugurate the facility on February 27.
Overall, PepsiCo currently has 17 manufacturing plants in the GCC, including some on the snacks side of the business and others franchise-owned by manufacturing partners on the beverage side of the business.
The company-owned snacks plants manufacture Lays, Lays Forno, Doritos, Cheetos and Sunbites, among other products.
Together with its manufacturing partners, PepsiCo employs more than 15,300 people across the GCC.
“We opened our snacks plant just two years ago in Dammam, and the whole packaging line is now manned by women. We are having more and more women [work with us in the region],” said Chadha.
“We are definitely invested and committed to growing in this region,” he added.