GFT will import and promote Amira’s 13 basmati rice products in Qatar, making the country the second Middle East market for the rice brand. Amira also sells its products in the UAE, where its headquarters are now based.
“The Middle East is a key market for us and this agreement with Global Foods is something that we are delighted with as it underscores our commitment to providing the best rice in the region. GFT has a great standing in the market and together I believe we can create the proper synergies and make Amira a household name in Qatar,” said Karan Chanana, chairman and CEO of the Amira Group.
He added that the demand for rice in the GCC, Yemen and Iran totalled around 7 million tonnes a year. According to Chanana, this gives the rice market a value of around US$9.5bn.
Peter Mathew, chief operating officer of GFT, said: “We are proud to be the official distributors for the Amira brand of rice. This premium brand resonates with our customer base and we have absolute confidence in our newfound partnership.”
Amira, which was founded in 1915 and sees 78% of its income from rice, has enjoyed dramatic growth in recent years. In October 2012 it listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and has been pushing to expand its reach, with a target to sell its products in 70 countries by 2017, up from its current 25 markets.
In February 2013 the firm revealed its expansion plans for the Middle East, with a pitch as a premium basmati rice brand. Chanana said Amira’s first target was to develop its presence in the UAE, followed by the rest of the GCC.
“Amira’s key focus is to make the Amira brand available to every household in the UAE. Amira is an acknowledged leader in delivering high quality and innovative food products to a growing number of markets across the globe, and we now want to focus our efforts in the GCC markets,” he said at the time.
In its second quarter results, released in November 2014, Amira posted sales of US$141m, up 31% year-on-year, with after-tax profits up 66% at US$10.6m for the quarter. In December it raised its forecasted growth for the fiscal year from 20% to 25%.