KENYA – Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA), Africa’s biggest non-alcoholic beverages bottler said on Wednesday May 30 that it would invest US$100m in Kenya with an aim to improve infrastructure and launch new products, reported Reuters.

Speaking in an interview, the Kenya Managing Director, Daryl Wilson said the soft drinks manufacturer plans to introduce 50 new products in Kenya to add to more than 130 existing ones in the country.

The prospective brands would include varied sugar-free beverages and flavoured water content.

According to him, Kenya is second to Ethiopia in terms of profits and as the Kenyan tastes grow, need for new brands is also growing.

As a result, the company plans to open at least four or five factories in the next five years.

“As the middle class is (growing)… they are wanting more variety,” said Daryl.

“Kenyan tastes are growing, the need for new brands is growing.”

CCBA, which operates four bottling plants in Kenya recently inaugurated a new processing line at its recently opened new US$69m hot-fill juice line at the Nairobi processing facility which also bottles sodas and Dasani water.

CCBA’s distribution system includes 300 official distributors reaching across the country but according to Daryl, despite of a conducive business environment, bad rural roads take a toll on vehicles distributing products.

Another challenge he highlighted was that of electricity as irregular power supply has compelled the company to resort to the use of generators which are expensive.

He urged the government to look into ways of reducing the cost of electricity.

Coca-Cola Beverages Africa was formed in 2014 after the merger between SABMiller and AB InBev and invests in beverage bottling operations in Southern and East Africa including Ethiopia and South Africa.

In an ambitious goal to invest US$17 billion over the years to 2020 and become a ‘Total Beverage’ company, the bottler has embarked on a series of investments including in hot-fill technology for production of Minute Maid products in Kenya.

For the full year 2017, the company reported income from continuing operations unfavourably impacted by intercompany profit eliminations related to the transition of the majority ownership of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa to the Company.

Across Africa and the Middle East, unit case volumes declined largely due to

macroeconomic challenges and strategic pack downsizing initiatives.