Cuba has a new overseas investor in its Mariel Special Development Zone and a new joint venture to celebrate.
Unilever and state-owned firm Intersuchel have signed a deal which will see the formation of a new company, Unilever-Suchel S.A. and a $35 million investment (equivalent to €32.3 million) in a personal and homecare factory which is set to open in 2017.
The factory will manufacture some of Unilever’s top-selling personal and homecare international brands, including Sedal shampoo, Rexona deodorant, Omo detergent, Lux soap and Close-Up toothpaste. Unilever will take a 60% stake in the venture, and Intersuchel will hold 40%. The factory is expected to generate 300 direct jobs.
Unilever will invest in Mariel’s Special Development Zone, which allows foreign and domestic companies to trade and invest with fewer regulations and is designed to encourage overseas investment.
Mariel Container Terminal
The signing ceremony for the joint venture was attended by Dutch Foreign Trade Minister Lilianne Ploumen, Ana Teresa Igarza, General Director of the Mariel Special Development Zone, Fabio Prado, President of Unilever Mexico & Greater Caribbean and Pedro Fraga, President of Intersuchel S.A.
Since 2011 Cuba has been gradually opening up its economy to outside investment to attract foreign capital and generate new jobs. Ploumen told reporters attending the event that she hoped Unilever would be the first of many Dutch companies to come and invest in Cuba.
Unilever’s Fabio Prado added: “We’re very enthusiastic about this approval, which will allow us to strengthen our leadership position in strategic regions, in order to develop home and personal care products. It is an honour to be among the first companies to receive authorization from the Cuban government for a joint investment in Mariel and contribute to the development of the county and wellbeing of the population, in keeping with Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan.”