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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Mars Plans Plant to Make Candy Here

Mars Inc. is negotiating to build a major manufacturing complex in the Moscow region that would produce its popular consumer products for the first time in Russia, the company said Monday.

According to a company press release, Mars will make a "significant" investment into the construction of three large food processing factories to be built over the next four years and produce chocolates, pet food and other food products.

The factories are to be located in Stupino, a small city 99 kilometers south of Moscow.

Before construction begins, the project will require a feasibility study that must be approved by the Stupino administration, Simeon Murachev, deputy head of the Stupino administration in charge of construction, said in an interview Monday.

If the plan goes ahead, it would be among the most significant foreign investments in Russia during a time that has been marked by sharp political and economic instability, which has scared off many foreign investors.

Mars products are among the most popular foreign imports to Russia and have become a symbol of Western life and Western food. A line from a Mars' TV ad about "a fat, fat layer of chocolate," which covers every bar, is the source of endless jokes and anecdotes.

A source at MasterFoods, the Russian branch of Mars, said the plants will start the first stage of work by the end of 1995 and, when the project is completed, could employ as many as 5,000 people in production and support services.

The head of the Moscow regional administration approved of Mars' proposal to build the factories in late January, according to a copy of the order obtained Monday.

This first stage of the project will produce Mars and Snickers bars, Uncle Ben's sauces and converted rice, and Whiskas and Pedigree Pal pet food, said the executive, who spoke on terms of anonimity.

The first stage will employ more than 1,000 people by the end of next year and provide jobs for others in support services, the release said.

The second stage of production, to begin in 1998, will add Mars ice cream to the production, the official said.

The total capacity of all three factories, according to the resolution of the Moscow regional administration, will amount to 150,000 tons of products a year.

The Moscow region administration will provide MasterFoods with open land in Stupino on terms of a 49 year land lease, according to the resolution of the head of the Moscow region's administration, Anatoly Tyazhlov.

Murachev of Stupino said the local authorities will review Mars' feasibility study and oversee the construction project.

He said he was not very happy about the project. "One the one hand, it is new jobs created, but on the other it is no crucial product for our economy."