Mondelez Intl. has laid the cornerstone for the construction of a $90-million plant in Bahrain, which will produce brands like Oreo, Ritz and TUC in its initial two- to three-year phase.

The plant, announced in October 2014, will be commercially operational next year and is set to meet the rising demand for biscuits in the Middle East and Africa for the next 20 years.

"Demand for our biscuits in the Middle East and Africa has been growing at double-digit rates and investing in a state-of-the-art facility in Bahrain will enable us to capitalize on this," says Daniel Myers, executive v.p. of integrated supply chain, Mondelez Int’l.  "This new investment is part of our journey to reinvent our supply chain around the world to meet growth demands, while also reducing costs and improving productivity."

The plant is expected to generate $3 billion in gross production savings, $1.5 billion in net savings and $1 billion in incremental cash between 2014 and 2016. It will also create up to 300 direct jobs and sustain more than 1,000 in the local economy.

The Bahrain government has already reclaimed the land for the plant, which will be built on a 2.7 million-sq.-ft. plot of land (equivalent to 30 soccer fields) and have a capacity of nearly 90,000 tons a year.

The plant will produce belVita and Prince biscuits along with Oreo, Ritz and TUC.

This investment will be Mondelez’s second in Bahrain after spending $75 million in developing a Kraft Cheese and Tang powdered-beverage plant, which has been operating since 2008. That plant produces 110,000 tons a year and has injected more than $250 million into the local economy.

Mondelez and its predecessor Kraft have also operated in the Middle East for more than a century, ever since Kraft Foods’ first sale in Saudi Arabia in 1912.

Mondelez ensured its continued presence in the Middle East with its upcoming plant. Myers spoke at a cornerstone ceremony in Bahrain, which was attended by Bahrain’s Minister of Industry and Commerce, His Excellency Zayed R. Alzayani, and other Bahrain ministers. The President of Bahrain Customs, Sheikh Mohamed Al Khalifa, and the Ambassador of the United States of America to Bahrain, His Excellency William Roebuck were also in attendance.

“Having confirmed the project in October 2014, we are very pleased to see Mondelez Int’l. moving ahead quickly with construction of this multimillion-dollar facility that will make such a valuable contribution to the economy and people of Bahrain," says His Excellency Minister Alzayani. "We look forward to the completion of construction and full commercial operations early next year."