Spain’s Hotelsa 1st firm to build factory in Mariel spezial zone

havana-live-Fábrica-HotelsaHAVANA, April 22  (EFE) Spain’s Hotelsa, a maker of food and beverage products for hotels, will become the first foreign company to build a factory in Cuba’s Mariel special development zone, sources with the multinational told Efe Wednesday.

Hotelsa recently obtained authorization from the Cuban government to create a fully owned subsidiary for the production of food and beverage products for hotels, as well as dispensing machines for those same products.

“We’ll begin building (the factory) in June,” and the construction phase is scheduled to be completed in early 2016, the head of the company’s Caribbean area, Carlos Palao, told Efe in a phone interview.

Hotelsa will build the factory on a 5,000-sq.-meter (53,750-sq.-foot) lot in the agrifoods section of the development zone, which is located some 45 kilometers (28 miles) west of Havana and is Cuba’s flagship project for attracting foreign investment.

The Palma-based company will invest 6 million euros ($6.4 million) in the first phase, in which the new factory will employ some 50 people, all of them Cuban, Hotelsa said on its Web site.

Contracts will also be signed with Cuban companies for the purchase of local raw material such as fruit pulp and concentrate, coffee, sugar, molasses, flour and alcohol.

The Cuban government envisions the Mariel special development zone, which provides favorable tax conditions for foreign firms and is the first of its kind on the Communist-ruled island, as an engine for job and export growth and a magnet for foreign investment.