Nestle Close to Signing off on Factory Worth Millions in Cuba

Featured Nestle Close to Signing off on Factory Worth Millions in Cuba

The factory, worth US$50 to $60 million, will help cater to a surge in tourism and replace imports with locally made products. 

Swiss firm Nestle (NESN.S) is close to reaching a deal with Cuba on forming a new joint venture to build a $50 million to $60 million factory to produce coffee, biscuits and cooking products, company Vice President Laurent Freixe said on Tuesday in Havana.

Freixe, head of Nestle's Americas division, was visiting the Communist-ruled island to negotiate the new investment in the Mariel special development zone west of Havana as well as to renew for another 20 years an existing joint venture producing ice cream.

Cuba has upped its drive to attract foreign funds in a bid to stimulate the economy in recent years, introducing a new investment law and creating the Mariel zone, which offers companies significant tax and customs breaks.

Nestle has been one of the largest investors in the country since it opened the door to Western capital in the 1990s after the fall of former benefactor the Soviet Union.

"The idea is to create a new joint venture to produce and distribute these products mainly for the Cuban market but also with the idea of exporting some products," Freixe said in an interview.

Nestle's new factory, set to begin operations in the second half of 2019, will cater to growing demand after a surge in tourism and help replace imports with locally made products, Freixe said. It will employ around 300 people.

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