RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA — Saudi Arabia's state grain buyer SAGO will start the next phase of the sale of its flour mills on July 31, which will see pre-qualified bidders perform due diligence and present financial offers, Reuters reported.
The sale is one of the first privatizations Saudi Arabia is planning as part of a wide-reaching overhaul of its economy. It has attracted interest from some of the world’s largest agribusiness firms, including Archer Daniels Midland Co. and Bunge Ltd.
Saudi Grains Organization (SAGO) in its statement on Sunday did not name successful pre-qualified bidders from the first phase of the process last year, according to Reuters. Privatization of the flour milling sector is seen as a litmus test for other large state asset sales to follow.
Last year Saudi Arabi’s Council of Economic and Development Affairs approved a privatization program that paved the way for the potential sale of the four flour milling companies by SAGO. The privatization is one of the 12 key elements of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, which is focused on creating jobs and supporting economic development.
The flour mills have a combined daily milling capacity of 12,630 tonnes (wheat equivalent) and process 3.3 million tonnes of wheat annually.
SAGO, the state grain purchaser for Saudi Arabia, is one of the world’s largest wheat and barley buyers. Saudi Arabia has been a major wheat importer since 2008 when it abandoned its plans for self-sufficiency.