During the press conference
In a significant milestone that promises to mark the beginning of a new era for the company in the region, Nestlé Middle East yesterday announced commencement of direct sales and distribution operations in Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s largest economy.
The move makes Nestlé one of the first FMCG multinationals to have a direct operational presence in the Kingdom, following the recent decision by the Saudi Government to further open up the national economy allowing international companies to set up and manage their sales and distribution operations.
“We see the commencement of direct sales and distribution operations as the beginning of a new and exciting chapter in Nestlé’s long operational history in Saudi Arabia,” said Yves Manghardt, Chairman and CEO of Nestlé Middle East FZE.
“Saudi Arabia, with its 28 million inhabitants and its sizeable youth population, presents tremendous growth opportunities for Nestlé, and together with our partners we are keen to capitalize on these opportunities by expanding the scope of our activities in the coming years. As we enter a new phase of growth within the Kingdom, we are committed to continue building our brands and products in the domestic market while contributing to the overall development of the country, creating value for everyone involved,” he added.
Nestlé Saudi Arabia will be headquartered in Jeddah, the Kingdom’s commercial capital, with branch offices in Riyadh and Khobar. The company, which aims to employ around 225 people in the first year of operations, is determined to exceed the local Saudization targets and is already at 30% as of Day 1.
Roger Meguerdichian, Country Manager, Nestlé Saudi Arabia, said, “Nestlé’s commitment to young Saudi talents goes beyond meeting the Saudization targets as we are looking to partner with key universities and institutions in the Kingdom through the establishment of the Nestlé Centre Of Excellence, which is composed of a sales training academy, Nestlé female Nutrition Development Program and our Graduate Development Program for young Saudi graduates. These initiatives will not only ensure a continuous flow of local talent to the organization, but furthermore will contribute to the development and training of external Saudi national graduates by allowing them to benefit from the Nestlé expertise.”
Nestlé has been operating in Saudi Arabia since 1955, when it signed its first agency contract in the Kingdom, and the company has since built a strong presence in the domestic market.
“As we begin our journey afresh within Saudi Arabia, we gratefully acknowledge the contribution of Basamh Trading Company to the development of our business in the Kingdom over the past decades,” Yves Manghardt said.
Nestlé’s successful water operation in Saudi Arabia, Al Manhal, will remain managed by separate manufacturing, sales and distribution joint ventures.
Nestlé Middle East has invested more than USD 400 million in the region since its formal inception in 1997, owning and operating 17 factories and 37 offices, employing more than 7,000 people. These capital investments have contributed heavily to creating local jobs, enhancing technological and manufacturing capabilities, and fostering national economies around the region.