RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA — Saudi Arabia has started the final stages of privatizing its flour milling sector, Reuters reported citing SAGO, the country’s state grain buyer.

In 2018, Saudi Arabi’s Council of Economic and Development Affairs approved a privatization program for the sale of the four flour milling companies by SAGO.

SAGO will begin accepting pre-qualification bids on July 16 for the sale of the second and fourth flour milling companies, Reuters reported, citing the state grain buyer’s announcement.

The final phase of privatization comes after the sale of the country’s first and third milling companies that were sold in early July.

The first milling company was sold for $540.1 million to the Raha AlSafi consortium. The Alrajhi-Ghurair-Masafi consortium purchased the third mill for a total of $199.9 million, according to the National Center for Privatization and PPP (NCP) and SAGO.

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.