KENYA – Centum has entered Kenya’s beer market with the signing of Danish brewer Carlsberg’s local distributorship contract.
The deal marks yet another milestone for the Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed investment company, which has lately announced multi-billion shilling projects in real estate and energy.
Centum says the distributorship of the premium beer, which is targets middle class consumers, is a strategy to diversify revenue streams and gulp a piece of the alcohol market dominated by the East African Breweries.
“We are targeting the premium beer market segment. There is space for growth given that Kenya’s per capita consumption of beer remains very low,” Centum chief executive James Mworia told the Business Daily on Monday.
Centum signed the deal with Carlsberg Group mid last year to exclusively sell its beer brands in Kenya. It has plans to set up a beer bottling plant by the end of this year, depending on sales volumes.
Centum said acquisition of the Carlsberg franchise is part of plans to solidify its presence in the fast-moving consumer goods category and exploit the rising demand for premium beer brands.
“The product is doing very well and we plan to begin local production. There is a team working on the plan and we will make a decision within three months,” said Mr Mworia.
Carlsberg Group — ranked the world’s fourth largest brewer — was founded in the Danish capital of Copenhagen in 1847 and raked in net sales of Sh697.78 billion (DKK50.2 billion) in nine months to September 2014 from its portfolio of 500 brands.
Centum imported the first consignment of Carlsberg beer in September, and has quietly established a countrywide distribution network at bars, restaurants and supermarkets.
Mr Mworia did not disclose the planned investment in a beer bottling plant saying that would depend on capacity of the factory and number of brands to be produced, details of which were being worked on.
It has incorporated a subsidiary, King Beverage, which is the franchise holder of Carlsberg in Kenya importing the beers from the parent firm based in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Centum has tapped Nicholas Macharia, formerly the marketing manager of Nairobi Bottlers, as the general manager of Carlsberg Kenya.