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US-based confectionery manufacturer Mars has expanded its production line at the Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) in Dubai with an investment of US$60mn
The latest round of investment has increased factory assets to US$160mn from US$100mn, stated officials from Mars. The new line would produce the famed Snickers bars, increase the site’s production capacity to 100,000 tonnes per year and create more than 50 jobs. The Jafza production facility has also been implemented using the highest international standards, including HACCP for Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs).
Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman of Economic Zones World, said, “Mars’ expansion reflects Jafza’s success in enabling major international businesses to grow in the UAE and the region. Jafza and Mars’ partnership is based on shared values and interests and Mars’ investment strategy in the region is driven by its long term and sustainable commitment to the region as well as its employees, partners and customers.”
Chocolate sales in the MENA region is expected to touch US$5.8bn in 2016. Mars officials confirmed that the company is expanding operations in the GCC, after a new factory was opened in Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah City. Mars’ decision to expand operations is an important step forward to meet the growing demand for chocolate in the Middle East, Africa and Turkey, added Salma Ali Saif bin Hareb, CEO of Economic Zones World and Jafza.
Sami Darouni, president of Mars in Middle East, Turkey and Africa, stated, “The opening of the new Mars Snickers production line and the new Saudi Arabian factory constitute new milestones in Mars’ continuous expansion and investment in the UAE, and the wider GCC. Since the beginning of our operations in this region over 40 years ago, we have constantly expanded our manufacturing facility and created jobs and superior products for the GCC market and beyond. Our decision to invest US$140mn to expand our production facilities, which we are marking today, is the latest step in this process.”
In 1988, Mars invested US$8mn in its first manufacturing facility in Jafza, Dubai. Ever since, production capacity has grown 20 times and facility investments have reached US$100mn. In 2014, Mars invested additionally to increase production of chocolates such as Galaxy and Snickers.