Varun to invest US$30m in Zim

ZIMBABWE – Indian billionaire Ravi Jaipuria is set to invest US$30 million in a Pepsi bottling plant in the country, promoters of the project said.

Entrepreneur Adam Molai, who is the promoter of the project, told businessdigest this week that Varun Beverages, Ravi’s bottling business, would invest US$30 million in the first phase of the project. 

Molai said the US$30 million would go into the installation of a pet, canning and bottling plant.

Currently, Varun is importing Pet’s from Zambia. Varun is PepsiCo’s largest franchise bottler in India. Molai said the boittling plant would create 600 direct jobs and 6 000 downstream jobs.

“We are currently empowering our people. We give vendors ice every morning to cool the products. Whenever there is a monopoly, opportunities abound,” he said. “From the Zimbabwe plant, we are going to supply the DRC and Namibia,” he said.

Molai said the second phase of the project would be setting up a juicing plant, adding Varun planned to spend US$50 million within the next 3-5 years.

He added that he had leveraged his personal friendship with Jaipuria to get him to invest in Zimbabwe.

“We are trying to promote Zimbabwe so that investors come in. But we are doing that at a production level. When you create production, we create jobs and incomes. That helps create consumers,” Molai added.

Twizza and Pepsi’s entry into the market has hit Delta’s volumes.

In a trading update for the second quarter ended September 30, Delta said revenue was down 6% in the quarter and down 8% for the six months, reflecting changes in the portfolio mix and the recent price moderations.

“In the short term, there will be pressure on operating margins as we adopt strategies to address affordability and stimulate volume through price reductions and streamlining value chain costs,” it said.

Sparkling beverages were down 14% compared to the same quarter last year and down 15% for the six months attributed to increased competition “particularly from imported lower priced alternative offerings”.

Jaipuria gets a chunk of his US$1,5 billion wealth from Varun Beverages, which accounts for 55% of RJ Corporation’s revenues. Varun Beverages has 10 bottling plants in India plus an international footprint that includes Sri Lanka, Nepal, Morocco, Mozambique and Zambia.

Molai’s savanna tabacco has emerged as British-American Tobacco’s stiffest competition in the last century. His company manufactures Pacific barands of cigarettes.

November 16, 2015; http://www.theindependent.co.zw/2015/11/13/indian-billionaire-to-invest-us30m/

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