MOSCOW: A Saudi Arabian investment company has set up a joint venture with SAHO, a Siberian grain producer, to ship Russian wheat and barley to the Middle East and North Africa, the two companies said yesterday. The deal is a rare one between Russia and Saudi Arabia, which consumes about 15 million tonnes of grain per year. It was agreed by Metropol, a Russian domestic investment bank, as part of a debt restructuring of SAHO. The bank has an option to buy SAHO in the future.
Russia, with abundant farmland and fresh water, is seen as a natural target for Saudi investments aimed at food security, but rivalry on oil and gas, a 2010 ban on Russian grain exports and, more recently, disagreements over Syria have stymied investment flows.reuters