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Saudi Arabia starts final phase of its mills privatisation

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s state grain buyer SAGO said on Sunday the second and final stage of the bidding process for its mills had started.

The kingdom is selling its entire flour milling business, in a long-awaited privatisation that marks one of the first sales of the country’s state-owned assets. The sales are part of broader plans to overhaul the economy.

The first part of the milling sector privatisation was completed in July with the sale of two milling firms to Saudi and Gulf investors.

With Sunday’s announcement, the sale of the two remaining milling companies is now underway.

The request for proposals was shared with the qualified bidders on Sunday, a joint statement by SAGO and the National Center for Privatization said.

The qualified bidders will conduct the necessary due diligence and submit their bids. The qualification phase will end a month prior to submission of financial bids.

The grain mills on sale all come under the kingdom’s monopoly state grain buyer SAGO, one of the world’s largest wheat and barley importers.

SAGO told Reuters in July that companies that buy its flour mills will be able to import wheat directly from global markets in a further liberalisation of the country’s grains sector.

Reporting by Maha El Dahan; Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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