THE cornerstone has been laid for a Mondelez biscuit factory in Bahrain that will have an overwhelming portion of its output exported mainly to states in the Gulf and wider Middle East.

The $90 million plant is coming up at the Bahrain International Investment Park (BIIP), a flourishing hub of small and medium enterprises, close to where Mondelez has its cheese and beverage powder factory.

The global maker of chocolate, biscuits, gums and candy said the factory is part of its plan to tap rising demand in the Middle East and Africa for brands including Oreo, Ritz and TUC biscuits. The project, which was announced in October, will reach full commercial production early next year, the company said in a statement.

“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 capitalise on this,” said Daniel Myers, Mondelez International executive vice president, integrated supply chain.

Myers spoke at a cornerstone ceremony for the plant which was also attended by Zayed R Alzayani, Bahrain’s Minister of Industry & Commerce, who said: “We are very pleased to see Mondelez International moving ahead quickly with construction of this multi-million-dollar facility that will make such a valuable contribution to the economy and people of Bahrain.”

This is Mondelez International’s second major investment in Bahrain after investing more than $75 million in developing a Kraft cheese and Tang powdered beverage plant in 2008.