Covering over 400,000 square-feet, the extension to AIS’s current processing plant in the northern UAE emirate has the capacity to process an additional 36,000 tons of lentils a year. When full productivity is achieved later this year, the company expects to increase its annual turnover to more than AED1bn (US$270m).
The Indian-owned company, which commenced business in the UAE with a 400 square-feet facility, sources and processes a range of imported pulses and ground spices for the Gulf. The new capacity will make AIS the second-biggest such processor in the world, it believes.
"This plant is part of the company's plans to drive the continued growth of its business in the UAE and expand further into other parts of the Gulf region,” said Harish Kumar Lal Tahiliani, managing director.
“AIS has diversified its operations from milling and grinding to processing of whole spices and consumer packing. We are making investments to drive sustainable long-term growth.”
He said that the company’s centralised system of sourcing, warehousing and processing allows AIS at times to control market pricing “to keep the market steady at its best level”.
AIS traces its history back to 1947 as a small grinding mill and moved to the UAE in 1986 mainly to import spices from the subcontinent. Today it sources spices from across Asia-Pacific and pulses from North America and Europe for sale in the UAE and other countries in Asia and the West.
It also owns three major rice brands, which it re-exports from Dubai and carries out contract production for various global brands.