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Indonesia's Indofood opens plant in Serbia

JAKARTA -- Indofood Sukses Makmur's instant noodle factory has begun operating in Serbia, paving the way for the Indonesian food giant's expansion into Europe.

The 5 hectare factory is located 80km from Serbia's capital, Belgrade, and was built at a cost of 11 million euros ($12.3 million), the Indonesian Embassy in Belgrade said in a recent Facebook post. The factory can turn out 500,000 boxes of Indofood's flagship Indomie instant noodles per month, which will be distributed both domestically and in nearby countries in southeastern Europe, such as Bulgaria and Romania.

The factory is run by an affiliate of Indonesian conglomerate Salim Group, which controls Indofood and produces Indomie under a licensing agreement, according to local media reports. Indofood did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Indofood, one of the world's largest makers of instant noodles, began setting up local production in emerging markets in the Middle East and Africa in the 1990s. The company's efforts to penetrate such markets have accelerated in recent years as rising incomes at home prompts Indonesians to consume healthier products such as meat and milk.

Indofood began local production in Turkey in 2014 and plans to open a factory in Morocco to expand its northern African business. Anthoni Salim, Indofood's CEO, said at a news conference in June that the company wants to boost its overseas sales from about 9% of the total in 2015 to as much as 30% over the long term.

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