Cargill ponders Dubai application centre for strategic plan

By Niamh Michail contact

- Last updated on GMT

'It’s in our strategic plan to invest more in the region – this could be by asset footprint, increasing warehousing capabilities, but also by increasing trade through more people on the ground, more technical services, said Tarakçıoğlu.
'It’s in our strategic plan to invest more in the region – this could be by asset footprint, increasing warehousing capabilities, but also by increasing trade through more people on the ground, more technical services, said Tarakçıoğlu.

Related tags: Middle east

Cargill may consider establishing an application centre in Dubai as part of its regional strategy, as it sees demand for advanced R&D increasing, according to its regional chair.

Discussing the company’s regional footprint, Murat Tarakçıoğlu, chairman for Cargill Foods Middle East, Turkey and North Africa, said: “We have a small application centre in Istanbul – maybe in the future we’ll have one in Dubai. But in terms of deep R&D centres, the closest one is in Belgium​.”

When asked about Cargill’s specific plans for a Dubai centre, he added: “We’re continuing to look at that – we don’t have a clear deadline or timeline, but we’re working on five-year strategic plans. And it’s in our strategic plan to invest more in the region – this could be by asset footprint, increasing warehousing capabilities, but also by increasing trade through more people on the ground, more technical services on the ground, and so on​.”

More R&D, better ice cream

Tarakçıoğlu said there has been a clear transition from purely technical after-sales service – which is provided across the Middle East at the moment – towards a demand for application support and more advanced research and development.

To give one example with one large ice cream producer, we’ve been able to develop a glucose-based product together with them, to prevent ice cream changing texture when you refreeze it – still with the same properties, the same taste, same flavour, for more days. So if you take it out of the freezer, then put it back – even if you consume it three or four days later, it will still have the same texture​,” said Tarakçıoğlu.

This is not just a simple stabiliser that we see in the marketplace – this is something developed by Cargill with our customer​,” he added.

In terms of Cargill’s overall performance in the region, Tarakçıoğlu declined to give specific figures, but said the company was beating GDP growth across the Middle East, Turkey and Africa – substantially so in the case of the GCC.

If you look at the empirical data in the GCC, GDP growth is around 3-4%. But we recorded much higher growth compared to GDP, all across the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey in our portfolio – and the Arabian peninsula is leading the clusters in the region in terms of growth, much higher than GDP growth, which means we are growing our market share​,” he said.

Don’t expect regional stability

Tarakçıoğlu said the region’s political problems meant no-one should expect it to stabilise – and companies should plan accordingly. But he believes this inherent lack of stability gives people in the region more “agility​” as they are forced to adapt to continuous change, making the Middle East immune to “ups and downs​”.

In that sense, I would not expect things to stabilise in the region – maybe that’s the beauty of it, because then life is more interesting. But I would also not be surprised if one thing that doesn’t change is continuous growth in the region – we’re going to see more multinationals jumping into the region, more local players trying to become more regional players​,” said Tarakçıoğlu.

It’s a learning process for the multinationals as well. I think the multinationals which are first trading with the region, and getting to know the region for a few years, rather than investing in assets immediately, can probably make better decisions, more informed decisions​,” he added. 

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