SAUDI ARABIA- Paris-based agribusiness giant, InVivo, is set to open a marketing office in Saudi Arabia early next year, strategically positioning itself in the Saudi port of Damman.
The move comes as the cooperative group adapts to evolving global grain demand and seeks to secure new outlets, particularly in the Middle East.
In an exclusive interview with Reuters, InVivo CEO Thierry Blandinieres emphasized the significance of the new Saudi office, stating that its primary objective is to secure grain supplies for local feed makers in the rapidly developing country. This strategic initiative reflects InVivo’s proactive approach to shifting global dynamics in the grain market.
In recent years, traditional markets, such as Algeria, have witnessed a decline in French wheat exports, partly due to the North African country’s shift towards more affordable Russian supplies. French wheat exports to Algeria plummeted by 85% by the end of the previous month compared to the previous year.
However, Blandinieres remains optimistic, pointing out that the decline in exports to Algeria could be offset by a surge in sales to China, where inclement weather has damaged crops.
“Geographies are changing in terms of customers. We know that Algeria is no longer a loyal customer. The good surprise is that China is ordering a lot, Egypt is buying again, and Saudi Arabia wants to have ties with France,” Blandinieres explained.
Despite the promising trends, he cautioned that China’s demand might not be continuous, prompting InVivo to explore alternative markets.
Blandinieres also revealed that InVivo is actively working on securing its presence in West African markets in the near future.
The Saudi office, to be directed from Dubai by Aman Sethi, will play a pivotal role in fostering ties with the Middle East. Sethi, formerly based at InVivo’s Singapore office, brings a wealth of experience to the role.
Jean-Francois Lepy, head of InVivo’s trading arm Soufflet Negoce, highlighted the dynamic nature of the company’s expansion strategy.
“InVivo is not only focusing on the Middle East but also on securing its West African markets, demonstrating its commitment to a diversified and resilient global presence,” Lepy noted In a separate statement.
In a related development, InVivo announced on Wednesday that its Malteries Soufflet unit had successfully completed the takeover of Australia’s United Malt Group, solidifying its position as the world’s largest maltster.
The acquisition received regulatory clearance and approval from shareholders, marking another milestone in InVivo’s strategic growth journey.