Egyptian-based Arab Brothers Group has announced plans to build a sugar beet plant in the Bekaa Valley. The group has established a Lebanese subsidiary, Middle East Food Industries, which will also build a cargo dock at Tripoli port and a warehouse complex for the project. The sugar refinery, which will use 50 per cent of its sugar beet input from local farmers, is set to open in three years. Plans are also in hand for a flour mill, a sunflower and soybean press, and a water bottling facility.

The sugar plant aims to export 80 per cent of its produce to the Arab world, with the remaining 20 per cent to be sold on the Lebanese market. Chairman Ali Safadi is reported to have requested free trade status for the project from the government, so as to reduce export and transport duties.

The group has two sugar plants in Egypt.