EGYPT – The Egyptian United Oil Processing and Packaging company has inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Russian vegetable oil and mayonnaise producer EFKO Group to establish a joint venture for production of vegetable oils.

The joint venture worth US$300 million is expected to create the largest manufacturer of oil and fat products in the region with annual earnings of more than $1bn.

The bottled vegetable oil and food ingredients project will target markets in North Africa, the Middle East and Southern Europe.

The agreement between the companies includes building a new plant producing specialised fats in Egypt and the creation of a centre of applied research in Cairo.

EFKO and United Oil have cooperated in a less formal structure for three years, mainly in the distribution of EFKO’s produced oil.

Evgeny Lyashenko, CEO of EFKO Group, said, “We are in search of opportunities to reach consumers in the markets of countries importing our products. Partnership with United Oil gives several opportunities in the region with fast-growing populations and welfare rates.”

El Shafei Yehia Zakaria, CEO of United Oil, stated, “Collaboration with EFKO Group will open new promising directions of development for both parties. EFKO is a dynamically developing company. It is based on innovative technologies, strong brands and a steady business model.”

Deputy Minister of Agriculture of Russia Oksana Luth took part in the signing ceremony of the agreement. The signatories were EFKO Group CEO Yevgeny Lyashenko and United Oil Processing and Packaging CEO Al Shafai Yahia Zakaria.

The ceremony took place on the side-lines of the Russia-Africa Economic Forum.

The deal includes enhancing mutual cooperation between the two sides to establish new factories for producing vegetable oils in the most populous Arab nation.

Today, the EFKO Group of Companies is one of the largest exporters of sunflower oil. Its products are exported to more than 50 countries.

The Group’s production assets are located in Belgorod, Voronezh and Sverdlovsk Regions, Krasnodar Territory, Moscow Region and the Republic of Kazakhstan.