The Middle East baby-food venture between US group Mead Johnson and Saudi Arabian dairy group Almarai is set to launch its first products.

The venture, International Pediatric Nutrition Co. (IPNC), is introducing its first products into the Saudi Arabian market, Almarai said yesterday (5 December).

The products are being imported from the US and the Netherlands, Almarai said in a statement to the Saudi stock exchange.

Almarai is building a manufacturing facility for paediatric nutrition products just outside Riyadh, the Saudi Arabian capital. IPNC plans to lease the site.

In its statement, Almarai said construction of the Saudi facility was "progressing according to plan". The company hopes local production will replace the imports from the US and the Netherlands by the end of next year.

The IPNC venture was first launched in March. Mead Johnson and Almarai plans to target markets within the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) states.