Saudi consortium buys farming group to increase food security

A London-listed company which owns swaths of the world's most fertile farmland in the Ukraine and Poland was snapped up yesterday by a consortium of Saudi Arabian investors for £61.5m.

Continental Farmers Group, which counts the former cabinet minister Sir Malcolm Rifkind among its non-executive directors, has agreed to a takeover by United Farmers in a deal which deepens Saudi Arabia's existing strategic food supply links with eastern Europe.

United Farmers is a three-way tie-up between Saudi agri-investment fund Salic; SGAF, which is 95 per cent owned by the billionaire founder of the kingdom's biggest bank, Sheikh Sulaiman al-Rajhi; and Almarai, a major consumer food group in the Middle East.

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