Varun Beverages Zimbabwe rumps up production launching new production line

ZIMBABWE – Varun Beverages Zimbabwe Private Limited (VBZPL), soft drinks manufacturer has commissioned a new production line for its Aquaclear bottled mineral water brand.

The new investment is aimed to enable the company ramp up production as it seeks to push more volumes in the market, recommending a retail price of $15 and $13.40 per 750ml and 500ml bottle respectively.

“The launch of the product at affordable prices, with great quality, should allow more consumers to drink clean and pure bottled water,” said Varun Beverages Zimbabwe vice-president Fungai Murahwa.

With the launch of the facility, the company seems to have started the year on a high-note revealing that more products and innovations are in the pipeline for 2021, reports NewsDay.

VBZPL is a subsidiary of the Indian-headquartered Varun Beverages Limited, franchise bottler of PepsiCo dealing with brands such as Pepsi, Mirinda, Mountain Dew, Sting and Seven-Up.

Despite the turbulent economic environment characterised by an acute foreign currency shortage, the company still continues to pump in investment in the country with the target of grabbing 50% of the market share by 2030.

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“The launch of the product at affordable prices, with great quality, should allow more consumers to drink clean and pure bottled water.”

Varun Beverages Zimbabwe Vice-President – Fungai Murahwa

Late December 2019, it commissioned the US$20 million second phase of its manufacturing plant in Harare featuring three production lines.

This was an addition to the first PET (polyethylene terephthalate) line launched in June 2018 as the company’s first phase of the project. The total investment of putting up a presence in Zimbabwe was US$50 million, a hike from the initial budget of $30 million.

Since setting up shop in the Southern African country, Varun is still struggling to recoup its multi-billion-dollar investment as it is not getting a “fair return” from it, but has expressed optimism that business can potentially thrive in the long term.

The new investment comes months after another international investor, Nestle inaugurated US$2.5m cereals manufacturing line at its Zimbabwean unit, aimed to boost operations to meet local demand and exports.

The expansion will result in over 30% incremental volume through put as the food and beverages concern expands capacity, targeting to triple its US$400,000 monthly exports in the medium term.

The commissioning is in line with Nestlé Zimbabwe’s transformation plan which was rolled out towards the end of 2019.

Pillars of the transformation plan include import substitution, local value chain development, expanding the manufacturing capacity, increasing capacity utilisation, innovation and renovation of product portfolio focusing on use of local ingredients, digital transformation, empowering communities and leading the sustainability agenda.

The new business model has seen Nestlé Zimbabwe reducing the foreign currency component required in the business to 20% from 85%.

In the past 10 years, the food and drink processing company has invested over US$40m in Zimbabwe.

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