Bella Bulgaria has entered a halal meat joint venture in Indonesia as part of a $72m investment project.

The Sofia-based supplier of meat cuts, sausage, salami, mince and ham, said it has signed a memorandum of ‘trade and investment cooperation’ with the Asian country’s PT Garuda Mitra Utama.

Bella Bulgaria, which also produces pastry products, cheese, frozen vegetables and cooking oils, added the four-year agreement was inked this week at the Indonesia-Europe Business Forum held in Jakarta under the purview of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia.

Of the total investment, $38m will go toward setting up a meat products factory in Indonesia and $34m for the procurement and supply of spices and herbs, which Mitra Utama will incorporate into its own products.

Bella Bulgaria operates nine European factories located in its home market, along with Greece, Romania and Hungary. One is a halal facility based in the city of Plovdiv, Bulgaria, producing rendang-padang, a popular spiced meat dish in Indonesia.

“By actively developing the activity of the rendang-padang factory in Plovdiv, we accumulated knowledge and experience, which we want to implement on a much larger scale in Indonesia,” Dimitar Mitev, Bella Bulgaria’s chief operating officer, said in a statement.

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“The analyses of the markets and the taste preference of consumers in the southern hemisphere showed a potential for business growth in the field of meat processing in Indonesia and niches for new players in the market.”

Bella Bulgaria has signed up to the ‘Indonesia: Spice Up the World’ programme launched by President Joko Widodo to promote Indonesian products around the world, to boost the local economy and create jobs.

Hendro Santoso, the CEO of Mitra Utama, said: “This is our first work project for cooperation with a European company and we have the opportunity to produce products based on traditional recipes with spices and herbs that are part of Indonesia’s cultural heritage.”

Speaking with the Indonesia Business Post, Hendro Santoso said the partnership has yet to determine the location of the joint-venture factory but it could be based in Jakarta or Bali.

“Our spices and seasonings will come from a collaboration with small and medium-sized enterprises from Sumatra to preserve the authentic flavour but the meat will come from Bulgaria. In essence, we can say it’s a collaborative effort, where it’s cooked there but under the supervision of both parties,” he told the publication.