Nestle Middle East starts direct operations in Saudi Arabia

May 11, 2011 AT THE ANNOUNCEMENT: L‐R: Ayman Tamer, Nestl? Saudi Arabia partner; Khaled

Olayan, Nestl? Saudi Arabia partner; Yves Manghardt, Chairman and Chief ExecuJve Officer of Nestl?Middle East; Imad Muhaidib, Nestl? Saudi Arabia partner; Roger Meguerdichian, Country Manager for Nestl? Saudi Arabia. Nestl? Middle East today announced the launch of its direct sales and distribution operations in Saudi Arabia, marking a new phase of expansion in the region. Set to employ around 225 people in the first year of operations, Nestl? Saudi Arabia will be headquartered in the city of Jeddah, with branch offices in capital city Riyadh and Khobar. Frits van Dijk, Executive Vice President, Zone Director for Asia, Oceania, Africa and Middle East, explained the importance of starting its direct operations in Saudi Arabia, the Arab world?s largest economy. He said: ?The start of direct sales and distribution operations is the beginning of a new and exciting chapter in Nestl??s long operational history in Saudi Arabia. Yves Manghardt, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Nestl? Middle East, stressed that Nestl? Saudi Arabia aims to create benefits for all, and added: ?As we enter a new phase of growth within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, we are committed to continue building our brands and products in the domestic market while contributing to the overall development of the country, creating value for everyone involved.? Roger Meguerdichian, Country Manager for Nestl? Saudi Arabia, continued that the start of direct operations in the country also illustrates its commitment to promoting talent. He said: ?We are looking to partner with key universities and institutions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through the establishment of the Nestl? Centre of Excellence, which is composed of a sales training academy; Nestl? Female Nutrition Development Program; and our Graduate Development Program for young Saudi graduates. ?These initiatives will not only ensure a continuous flow of local talent to the organisation, but furthermore will contribute to the development and training of external Saudi national graduates by allowing them to benefit from the Nestl? expertise.?Nestl??s successful water operation in Saudi Arabia, Al Manhal ? which is managed by separate manufacturing, sales and distribution joint ventures ? will remain unchanged. ?Saudi Arabia, with its 28 million inhabitants and its sizeable youth population, presents tremendous growth opportunities for Nestl?, and together with our partners we are keen to capitalise on these opportunities by expanding the scope of our activities in the coming years.? The launch follows the recent decision by the Saudi Government to further open up the national economy allowing international companies to set up and manage their sales and distribution operations.Nestl? has been operating in Saudi Arabia since 1955, when it signed its first agency contract in the Kingdom, and has since built a strong presence in the domestic market. Mr Manghardt praised this success and concluded: ?As we begin our journey afresh within Saudi Arabia, we gratefully acknowledge the contribution of Basamh Trading Company to the development of our business in the Kingdom over the past decade.? Nestl? Middle East ? which has invested more than USD 400 million in the region since its presence in 1997 ? operates17 factories and 37 offices, and employs more than 7,000 people.