Malaysia: Brahim’s banks on Jordan for more Mideast deals

By Sharen Kaur – Business Times

The in-flight caterer also aims to expand its halal food business in the Arab region

BrahimKUALA LUMPUR: Brahim’s Holdings Bhd is banking on Jordan to promote its military food products in the Middle East and improve overseas earnings, major shareholder Datuk Ibrahim Ahmad Badawi (picture) says.

The in-flight caterer also aims to expand its halal food business in the Arab region, said Ibrahim, who is group executive chairman.

Brahim’s, via wholly-owned unit Brahim’s Overseas Ventures Sdn Bhd (BOV), rolled out last week its food production factory, Arab Ready Meals LLC (ARM), at the KADDB Industrial Park in the Dhail special free zone in Jordan.

The factory, which was built at a cost of US$45 million, will supply 500,000 24-hour ration packs annually to the Royal Jordanian Army.

ARM is a 50:50 joint venture between BOV and King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau, Jordan’s defence think tank.
BOV is a specialist in developing and packing ready-to-eat meals based on Middle Eastern cuisine.

The project was initiated four years ago when King Abdullah visited Malaysia to discuss the possibility of a Malaysian company producing halal ration packs for the United Nations peacekeeping forces and the regional military.

Ibrahim, who is also the chairman of BOV, said the factory, the first of its kind in the region, will serve as Brahim’s hub for the lucrative Middle East market.

“We expect our presence in Jordan to be the launchpad for further military food deals in the Middle East.

“Our military food packs represent a technology change from the traditional tin cans, which are heavy and bulky,” he told Business Times in an interview this week.

He added that exporting technology and know-how, particularly in halal food production, is Brahim’s strength. “This project marks the successful collaboration between two Muslim nations.”

Brahim’s, famous for its ready-to-use cooking sauces and meat dishes, is also looking at ways to increase its earnings.

By year-end, the group is hoping to wipe out the RM170 million accumulated losses incurred by MAS Catering Sdn Bhd, which it bought in 2003.

It recently bought over LSG Asia’s 49 per cent stake in the world’s largest halal flight kitchen at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang.

With the conclusion of the deal, it expects a quantum leap in net profit and revenue in the current year.

Brahim’s is also looking forward to serving airlines at klia2 with its new range of Asian and international cuisine when the new low-cost terminal starts operations in June, Ibrahim said.