‘Our aim is to be the biggest food retailer in the region by 2010,’ said Kashgari. ‘Within Saudi Arabia, we are looking to open 50 new supermarkets and five new hypermarkets by the end of the decade, while we are aiming to open one new hypermarket abroad each year.’

Savola is also seeking overseas expansion in other parts of its business, which includes sugar refining, packaging and edible oils. ‘We will look to expand an area of the business when we feel we understand it well,’ said chief executive officer Abdulraouf Mannaa. ‘We now have edible oils operations in Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan and many other projects are in the pipeline.’

Savola is also one of the main shareholders in the recently established project company for a new sugar refinery at Sokhna Port in Egypt and is looking to increase its sugar refining capacity by some 50 per cent to 1.5 million tonnes a year (MEED 7:4:06).