KENYA – Kevian Kenya, a leading fruit juice producer in Kenya, has secured an additional US$10.93 million (Ksh 1.1 billion) credit facility from German sovereign wealth fund DEG to finance its expansion drive.

This is the second funding that the company has secured from DEG following an earlier loan of US$7.86 million (Sh791 million) issued to the soft beverage firm in 2012.

According to a Business Daily report, Kimani Rugendo, Managing director, Kevian Kenya said that the loan will enable the firm introduce more products and expand its production capacity as it continues to explore the potentials in the local beverage market.

“The loan will also go towards supporting the expansion of the firm as happened with the previous loan which Kevian has paid back.

We see untapped opportunities in the local processing and manufacturing industry mainly in new beverages targeting children and young adults. This is the new line of business we are eyeing,” he said

Additionally, Christiane Laibach, the chairperson of DEG’s management board, noted that the credit facility is aimed at helping the beverage firm scale up its employment capacity.

“We are glad to have Kevian Kenya on board and we are pleased by the steps it has been making. The new funding will play a key role in creating opportunities for hundreds of citizens and promote the growth of local enterprise,” said Ms Laibach.

The expansion will see the company hire an additional 200 direct employees on permanent basis and 300 casual workers.

“Our focus will now be on new healthy beverages and the €10 million funding from our long-time financing partner, German Investment Corporation, will go into introducing new products as well as in expanding the existing brands.

“We expect to create about 200 new permanent jobs which will raise our total workforce to 1,000, excluding casual staff,” said Mr Rugendo.

DEG is a subsidiary of the German government-owned KfW Group that seeks to promote private business initiatives in developing countries and emerging economies through the provision of long-term capital at lower interest rates.

The facility comes as a boost to the firm as it strives to diversify from its mainstay Afia and Pick N Peel juices, Mt Kenyan bottled water, tomato sauce, carbonated drinks, ready-to-drink coffee, energy drinks and vegetable soups.