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Airline catering company Gategourmet will establish a subsidiary in Israel to build a factory and buy products from Israeli suppliers, the Finance Ministry said Monday.
Gategourmet Chairman David Siegel met with Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday to discuss plans for the company's first investment in Israel, which the Treasury said has potential to create between 400 and 1,000 jobs.
"It is our intention to make additional investments in Israel," Siegel said. "Our visit is an expression of confidence and belief in the Israeli economy."
Gategourmet is looking to enter the Israeli airline catering market by participating in a Ports Authority tender to build a factory at Ben Gurion Airport, expected to be presented after the elections, and take place within a year.
A spokesman for Gategourmet said that the company would not participate in the tender alone but was looking to partner or purchase one of the three Israeli companies in the market: El Al-owned Tamam; Shefa; and Catering Ltd.
Siegel added that the new company, Gategourmet Israel, also would compete in a Defense Ministry catering tender to provide soldiers with "tens of thousands of meals per day."
Meanwhile, Siegel told Olmert that Gategourmet would open an office in Israel in the coming weeks to start purchasing food from Israeli suppliers for its global operations. The Washington-based company has approximately 130 factories in 29 countries, producing over 500,000 meals per day, or an average 195 million meals per year.
Siegel said he sees the new Israel operation as being the company's base station for the Far East market, acting as a bridge between Europe and the East.