, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 16 – Nairobi Bottlers Limited, Coca-Cola’s local independent bottling franchise, has invested Sh1.2 billion in a new preform manufacturing plant as the demand for plastic bottled products increases.
The new state of the art facility will enable the company to produce preforms used in the manufacture of plastic bottles for packaging of Coca-Cola range of soft drinks and Dasani water.
Previously, Nairobi Bottlers has been sourcing these raw materials from independent suppliers in the country.
Speaking during the commissioning of the preform plant Nairobi Bottlers Managing Director Patrick Pech said setting up of the facility was informed by the growing demand for plastic bottled products which meant spending huge sums of money sourcing for preforms to make the plastic bottles.
Pech noted that the funds saved will be redirected towards Nairobi Bottlers’ business expansion programs.
“Looking at the projected growth of our business and need to expand our business to better meet consumer needs, we made a decision to invest aggressively including setting up a PET line last year and now this facility. That decision today presents us with the opportunity to grow our business year on year and at the same time help meet the ever-increasing consumer demand for Coca-Cola brands,” he said.
The two preform manufacturing machines installed at the plant have the capacity to produce over 0.9 million pieces of preforms per day, which will be able to meet the demand both locally and for the export market.
The company is looking to export the preforms initially to East African Community (EAC) markets starting with Uganda and Tanzania and later Ethiopia and Mozambique.
On his part Nairobi Bottler’s Board Chairman Chris Kirubi says the huge investment is part of the firm’s growth strategy as it strives to take advantage of emerging opportunities both locally and in the export markets within the region.
“The new facility takes the total investment by the company alone to over Sh3 billion within a year,” Kirubi revealed.
He said that the plant will create new job opportunities.
“The introduction of the new facility is also expected to create employment directly at the plant and indirectly through the value chain of collectors and transporters,” Kirubi said.
He asked the Nairobi county government to work hard at creating avenues for the young people to engage in income generating activities.
According to the company, there is growing demand for plastic compared to glass which currently controls 70 percent of packaging.
Last year, the company invested Sh1.26 billion in a PET (plastics) manufacturing line in Embakasi, Nairobi and is looking to double the investment within the next two years in order to keep pace with the expanding market.
The PET line produces 28,000 bottles per hour, more than doubling Nairobi Bottlers’ capacity to 12 million physical cases annually.