With the passing of the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM in Spanish) Law Decree 313 and its complimentary regulations in 2013, Cuba opened investment possibilities at the enclave, 45km west of Havana, to the world. Profood Service S.A., fully funded by Spanish capital, embraced the opportunity.

With the passing of the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM in Spanish) Law Decree 313 and its complimentary regulations in 2013, Cuba opened investment possibilities at the enclave, 45km west of Havana, to the world. Profood Service S.A., fully funded by Spanish capital, embraced the opportunity. As a result, they are now one of 11 investments approved within the logistically promising ZEDM space, to establish a factory for the production of juices, concentrates and soft and alcoholic drinks, destined for the hotel industry.

Profood is a subsidiary of the Spanish Hotelsa Alimentación company, a producer of food and drink for tourist consumption that has been supplying the sector in Cuba for 23 years, that now has an opportunity to enhance it’s competivity by developing some of its lines here.

Since its approval by Cuban authorities, Profood Service S.A has been working on the procurement of supplies and a works license to erect a modern and technologically advanced factory for the production and packaging of juices, cocktails and powders used in dispensing machines.

Profood Service S.A., executive, Antonio Vicens, explained that the idea is to start construction before the end of March this year in order to commence with a six million unit capacity – a figure that could double in a second phase -- as soon as possible.

He added that since it’s inception, the project has envisioned that almost 60% of cane derived raw materials such as sugar, molasses and rum used would be of Cuban origin.

To this end purchasing contracts have been negotiated with national companies like Tecnoazúcar and Cítricos Caribe for inclusion in their list.

As output increases and the demands of the tourist industry are met, some Profood Service products might, in addition to being exported to primarily Caribbean countries, be directed to the domestic retail sector.

Should opportunities arise in the southern United States, due to thelifting of the economic, financial and commercial blockade imposed on Cuba by Washington, the possibility of entering that market is not being ruled out.

The Spanish company, like the others from Mexico, Brazil, Holland, Belgium and Cuba, highlight the importance to foreign companies of the favorable fiscal and working conditions offered by the ZEDM for the foreign investments needed to drive the national economy, generate exports, create jobs and attract further inward investment.

The zone offers land at attractive prices, favorable installation and infrastructure costs for water, electricity and communications technology supply and an advantageous and flexible “onestop shop” for services to Profood Service, or any other company interested in locating there.

These are complimented by the ZEDM container terminal facilities for the exportation and importation of products that investors need to undertake their ventures, and by links to a chain of national producers, something valued for the security and stability it lends to operations.

To date, 11 companies have been authorized, three of which are Cuban funded, one for logistical services, one for bank loans and the container terminal operated on a 10 year administration contract by PSA International of Singapore.

There are two Belgian firms also on the list: BDC Log S.A, dealing with transport, logistics and moving equipment supply; and BDC Tec S.A, a producer of industrial electric screens and temperature sensors.

Two entities fully financed by Mexican Capital have also been accepted; meat processor Richmeat de Cuba S.A and paint, waterproofing and additive manafacturer, Devoz Caribe S.A

The joint venture with Brazil, Brascuba Cigarrillos S.A, the fully foreign funded, Compahia de Obras e Infraestructura S.A, from the same nation and the joint Cuban-Dutch Unilever Suchel S.A company complete the list of approved projects.

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