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The favourable investment incentives, political stability and peaceful environment were among factors that help to influence foreign investors’ decision to choose Brunei Darussalam as their investment destination. United Arab Emirates-based, Saahtain Group recently launched its Bruneian subsidiary, Saahtain Asia Sdn Bhd, at their newly opened facility at the Salambigar Industrial Park and bean manufacturing Halal ready-to-eat meals for export. 

Saahtain Asia Sdn Bhd facility at Salambigar Industrial Park 

Saahtain Asia Sdn Bhd is a joint venture between Saahtain Group and the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam through the Ministry of Finance’s Strategic Development Capital Fund (SDC). The project is yet another significant achievement for the Government supported by the Foreign Direct Investment & Downstream Industry Steering Committee under the Prime Minister’s Office, which was set up to ensure an integrated and streamline efforts towards attracting more FDI projects in Brunei Darussalam.

The Brunei facility is Saahtain Group’s second production site after Abu Dhabi. It currently promotes three brands, AlGourmet for general retail supporting Halal Lifestyle, TheFoodPouch for military-grade ration packs supporting Halal Food Security and Tayyib, specifically produced for humanitarian aid purposes supporting Halal Relief. The company is currently supplying food packages to the Royal Brunei Police Force and has capabilities to also provide “ready to eat meals” to other foreign militaries.

Approximately 85% of the products are aimed for the export markets across Asia. These food packages have a shelf life of up to three years and are HACCP-certified, thus meeting the global food safety standards. All products are also Brunei Halal certified, adding a further premium to these quality products. By leveraging on Brunei’s Halal certification, the company hopes to create a global halal brand that customers can trust and use. The products will be available for purchase locally soon.

A range of Al Gourmet ready to eat meals produced by Saahtain

While most of the raw materials will be sourced locally, the bulk of the finished products will be meant for export with a portion going to countries needing humanitarian aid. Saahtain has partnered with humanitarian and relief agencies to deliver over a million ready-to-eat meals to disaster struck and crisis areas since its establishment back in 2014. In fact the first shipment from Brunei has been sent to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh in Early November 2017.

With a production capacity of 20,000 packages a day, Saahtain has plans to expand its operations, create more employment for locals and further spin-off opportunities to the micro, small and medium enterprises. The locals currently employed by the company already represent more than half of the company’s total workforce.

The Government’s reform agenda to ensure a pro-business and conducive investment climate, has led to the country’s significant improvements in the 2018 World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking from 72 in 2017 to 56. Additionally, the Ease of Doing Business Steering Committee is actively driving reforms to ensure that the local business environment continues to be open, transparent, pro-business and pro-investment to help companies establish and grow their business in the country. Thereby ensuring a win-win relationship for all parties in which Brunei Darussalam reaches its growth targets as the operations of FDI companies flourish.

(Ministry of Finance)