BidCo Africa, Co-Ro foods joint venture opens new US$2.5m juice production line

KENYA – Bidco Africa Group, one of the leading consumer good company in East Africa in collaboration with Danish firm partner, Co-Ro foods have inaugurated US$2.5 million (Ksh.267 million) juice production line in Ruiru, Kiambu county.  

The joint venture was financed through a mix of borrowing and internal cash reserves, reports Business Daily.

The new juice line will produce Sunquick brand, trading under BidCoRo, with the beverage targeting both local and export markets.

CO-RO is one of the world’s leading providers of fruit based soft drinks including Suntop, Sunquick, and Sun Cola, selling in over 80 countries world-wide.

The company has a number of fully or partially owned facilities and franchisee bottlers, with a strong footprint in the Middle East and Asia.

“We have teamed up with Bidco Africa Group to set up BidCoro, which is a 50-50 joint venture to produce a concentrated drink called Sunquick,” said BidCoro chief operating officer Mads Burmester.

“We are targeting both local and export markets where 90 per cent of this product will go. We have invested US$2.5 million in capital to this product largely from borrowing and internal cash.”

Mr Burmester said their largest markets for the product remains Mauritius, Qatar, Portugal and Denmark. He added that the joint venture would still be looking for a larger piece of the African market.

Bidco Africa Group Chairman Vimal Shah said the consumer markets have gradually changed locally and there is a need for product diversification to tap on other markets outside Kenya.

“There is a huge demand for the juice markets in the region given the changing consumer habits. We are glad that the government has created an enabling business environment for the private sector to grow and thrive,” he said.

Mr Shah said the product would be competitive, pocket friendly and new create jobs of about 100 jobs.

Cabinet Secretary for Industrialization, trade and Enterprise Development Ms Betty Maina who graced the launch said the government is committed to working and creating a conducive environment to the private sector.

She said there is need for the private sector to be innovative and take advantage of the government business incentives so that they can produce more and export more instead of relying on imports to feed the demand for the local market.

“We want to see more exports and less imports from the local manufacturers given the government has created a conducive environment for the private sector to grow and thrive so that they can create opportunities,” said Ms Maina.

Co-Ro entered the Kenyan market in 2017 with the opening of a new juice plant that produces the Suntop brand, still in partnership with BidCo under the shared company called BidCoRo.

The family-owned BidCo has plants in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Madagascar. Its products include edible oils, fats, margarine, animal feeds, foods, beverages, laundry bars and detergents and personal care products

The company earns extra revenue from export sales around Africa and other lines of business such as farming. Its five-year growth plan is focused on boosting revenue from sales in Kenya.

The investment fits into its plan to be a US$1 billion company by 2021 through boosting its investments in new plants in a number of African countries.

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