On February 28, the 24th session of the Uzbek-British Trade and Industry Council was held in Tashkent under the chairmanship of the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan E.M. Ganiyev and Member of the House of Lords (Upper Chamber) of the United Kingdom Parliament, Special Representative of the British Prime Minister on the issues of trade and economic cooperation with Uzbekistan Baroness E.Nikolson.
Within its framework, an agreement was signed on the establishment of a foreign enterprise (FE) with the participation of the British company BAT Uzbekistan (Investments) Ltd. (BATU(I)) and the Swiss company New Product International, which is currently the main owner of the Uzbek-Swiss enterprise LLC “Samfruit” (Samarkand region), specializing in the processing and export of dried vegetables, fruits and herbs. In accordance with the signed agreement, BATU(I) will become a co-founder of FE Samfruit and intends to invest $ 11 million in the first stage to expand its production capacity, including the purchase of modern high-tech equipment for freeze-drying and air-drying, packaging and packaging, for the production of export-oriented products.
These investments will increase the FE’s production capacity from 700 to 4,000 tons of dried fruits, vegetables and herbs per year. Upon completion of the implementation of this stage of the investment programme, the projected export earnings of FE Samfruit should increase several times. And if now the company employs 50 people, then 100 permanent and 150 seasonal workers will work in the expanded production.
This is the first investment project of the BAT Group in the post-Soviet space, not related to the production and sale of tobacco and nicotine-containing products.
The agreement was signed by the Managing Director of the sub-region of Central Asia, Caucasus, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, of "British American Tobacco" Group Simon Welford and the General Director of JV "Samfruit" LLC Denis Samarin.
The leaders of the two companies expressed confidence in the successful implementation of this investment project, which will not only increase export revenues and create additional jobs, but will also serve as a positive signal for other potential British investors to invest more actively and transfer more know-how to the Uzbek economy.
The Uzbek-Swiss Joint Venture Samfruit LLC was founded in 2001. Today, the enterprise owns a 10-hectare plant with its own greenhouses for growing seedlings in the Samarkand district of the Samarkand region, as well as the Samfruit Organic farm with a total area of 234 hectares in the Nurabad district. Organic products, which are grown here, are annually certified by inspectors from the Institute for MarketEcology (Switzerland).
For many years Samfruit’s main partners have been the largest international manufacturers of food, canned and confectionery products: Mars, Nestle, Unilever, Gerber, Kellogg’s, Kundig Group, Worlee Group, Harms Food GmbH, etc.
BAT Uzbekistan (Investments) Limited (London, UK) is a co-founder of the Uzbek-British joint venture “UZBAT A.O.”, established on November 22, 1994, in the form of a joint venture with state participation. BATU(I) is one of the leading foreign investors and the largest British investor in the Uzbek economy with an accumulated volume of direct investments of more than 400 million US dollars.
Currently, JSC JV “UZBAT A.O.” is the only manufacturing company of the BAT group in Central Asia, which includes the Tashkent office, the Samarkand cigarette factory (BAT SCF), and the Urgut fermentation plant (BAT UFP) for processing tobacco raw materials. The company operates within the full technological and production cycle - from cultivation in cooperation with domestic farmers and tobacco growers of green raw tobacco to the production of finished products for the needs of the domestic market and export abroad.
Today about 400 highly professional workers work at BAT SCF. For the needs of the domestic market of the Republic of Uzbekistan, 30 SKUs of tobacco products of such international brands as Kent, Pall Mall, Rothmans, Viceroy are manufactured at the SCF, not counting the export nomenclature. BAT SCF has three production shops - the primary tobacco raw materials processing plant into a semi-product called Cut Rag Tobacco (or tobacco blend), a filter production workshop, an assembly and packaging workshop. BAT UFP employs 200 permanent and more than 400 seasonal (for a period longer than 6 months) employees. BAT UFP has modern equipment for processing both the Oriental and semi-oriental tobaccos of the “Dubek”, “Izmir”, “Basma” varieties, that are traditional for Uzbekistan, and the new elite variety of tobacco "Virginia", the industrial cultivation of which in Uzbekistan was established several years ago.
Within the framework of the long-term cooperation, UZBAT JV with the farming enterpriss of the Samarkand region, the total number of employees of which is currently about 7,500 people, an agro-industrial tobacco-growing cluster is formed and functions in the Urgut district.
In 2018, the company allocated more than 3.5 billion Soums to implement various social projects.