DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – The Saudi Arabia Grain Organization (SAGO) on Sept. 13 told Reuters that the final stage of the bidding process for its flour mills has begun.

SAGO, the state grain buyer for Saudi Arabia, is selling its flour milling business as part of the country’s broader plan to overhaul its economy.

In July, the first part of the milling industry privatization was completed with the sale of two flour mills to Saudi and Persian Gulf investors.

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’s two other flour mills are officially up for bid following the announcement on Sept. 13.

According to a joint statement from SAGO and the National Center for Privatization, the request for proposals was shared with the qualified bidders.
SAGO, one of the world’s largest wheat and barley buyers, had previously told Reuters that companies that purchase its flour mills will be able to import wheat directly from global markets as Saudi Arabia attempts to liberalize its grain sector.

Saudi Arabia has been a major wheat importer since 2008, when it abandoned its plans for self-sufficiency.