KENYA – The Wrigley Company, a global chewing gum manufacturing firm has kicked off the construction of a Sh5.8billion ($63million) in Machakos County.

The multi-billion shilling factory to be constructed on a 20-acre piece of land in Mavoko, is expected to serve the company’s growing business in Africa.

“As we break ground today on this new world-class factory, we demonstrate our long-term commitment to driving sustainable growth here in East Africa, as well as in South Africa and in our newly launched business in West Africa,” Wrigley’s Global President Martin Radvan said on Wednesday during the ground breaking ceremony.

The factory is expected to go into production in the first quarter of 2017 and will replace an existing plant located in Nairobi’s Industrial Area.

The Wrigley Company operates as a subsidiary of US-based Mars Incorporated, with some of its gum brands in Kenya being Big G, PK, Doublemint, Juicy Fruit and Orbit.

Kenya hosts The Wrigley Company’s only manufacturing plant in Africa, from which it serves markets like Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia and South Sudan.

“This new investment is an important early step in realizing the strategic commitment of Mars, Incorporated to build a lasting business in Africa, which generates a mutuality of benefits for all,” Radvan said.

Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed has welcomed the move by the company adding that is an indication global investors have faith in Kenya’s manufacturing sector.

Speaking at the event, Mohamed stressed the government’s focus on boosting the manufacturing sector, diversifying the country’s exports and encouraging the creation of jobs.

“We are creating an enabling environment for growth of the sector by continuously selling Kenya as a favorable investment destination and reducing the regulatory hurdles to starting a business,” he said.

The company is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, USA and employs approximately 17,000 associates globally, and operates as a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated

April 7, 2015;