Yves Manghardt, Nestlé’s Middle East chief executive, said that positive growth would continue in the GCC, though it would probably not meet levels of performance seen “five or six years ago, when the region was under a different overall economic context”.
"But we remain very positive and see signs of recovery in some of the countries which have been more recently affected by the economic restrictions,” he added.
Growth in Saudi Arabia, which accounts for over a third of Nestlé’s regional business has been “softer” over the last two years after the government’s decision to drop subsidies hit purchasing power.
"We see that we should be able over the coming few years to go back to an increasingly positive growth,” said Manghardt at the inauguration of a new US$145m factory for manufacturing three-in-one coffee and Maggi noodles and soup.
Nestlé’s Al Maha plant will operate alongside two other facilities in the emirate that manufacture bottled water, chocolates and milk powders.
“Al Maha is yet another way for us to meet our commitment to the Middle East. Manufacturing locally enables us to source locally, invest locally, make tailored products to better meet local needs, and serve communities in the region more rapidly and more effectively,” Manghardt added.
Located at Jebel Ali Free Zone, it will manufacture 31,000 of Maggi stock and 23,000 tonnes of coffee mixes per year, and is part of a US$400m investment by Nestlé in the Middle East over the last five years.
The company is also in the process of building a US$27.2m water factory in Abu Dhabi, which is due to open next year.