Thai Union Frozen Products and Saudi group Savola have established a joint venture to sell seafood products including the John West brand in the Middle East.

The venture will sell a range of seafood products, including ambient, frozen and chilled seafood, as well as ready-to-eat meals. The joint venture will operate in 12 Middle Eastern markets: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Iraq and Egypt.

Thai Union, the world's largest tuna maker with brands including John West and Chicken of the Sea, said the business would combine its global knowledge and Savola's regional expertise.

Savola is one of the largest food groups in Middle Eastern markets. The company is present in categories including edible oils, pasta and sugar, with annual revenues of approximately SAR14.59bn (US$3.9bn). Savola's brands include Afia cooking oil.

Thai Union said the venture "will be uniquely positioned to leverage strong capabilities of both partners". It added: "The joint venture will benefit from the sourcing, processing, and R&D capabilities of Thai Union, and sales, marketing, and distribution expertise of Savola Foods Company. The joint venture will also leverage deep consumer and marketing expertise of both partners, including marketing the John West brand in the Middle Eastern markets."

Thai Union said it anticipates the venture will capture a "significant" market share and annual revenues are expected to exceed US$400m over the next three to four years. Thai Union and Savola plan to jointly invest $30-50m in the enterprise over the next two years.

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