ZIMBABWE – Varun Beverages Zimbabwe (Pvt) Limited, the franchise bottler of PepsiCo in Zimbabwe, has commissioned a new US$12m water bottling line, with a production capacity of 15 million bottles per month.
The new 400 bottle per minute line is part of the third phase of the company’s expansion project, which will bring total production capacity to 66 million bottles of sparkling beverages, cans and bottled water per month, reports The Herald.
Varun Beverages Zimbabwe officially commissioned its first plant in the Southern African country in February 2018 with an initial production capacity of 15 million bottles per month.
By 2019, the company had added three more production lines, enhancing the capacity to 51 million bottles per month of carbonated beverage.
As part of the second phase of expansion, the fast growing beverage maker added 3 Husky production lines to produce 510 million pieces of preforms a year from virgin resin as backward integration.
Bringing the firm’s cumulative investment in Zimbabwe to US$66 million, the new line earmarked for production of its Aquaclear bottled mineral water brand, lays the foundation stone of its fourth phase of investment in a new plastic closure plant with an annual production capacity of 500 million pieces.
In addition to the closure project, a new carbonated beverage production line will be installed with an additional capacity of 18 million bottles per month which will be in operation by May 2022.
“This new additional capacity will boost the total production capacity of the plant to one billion bottles a year,” said Mr Ravi Japuria, Chairman of Varun Beverages.
Varun Beverages Zimbabwe eyes larger market share
Mr Japuria indicated that with the new expansion, the company will increase export of beverages, preforms and plastic closures to Zambia, DRC, Botswana, Malawi and other neighbouring countries which will bring in sizeable foreign exchange into Zimbabwe.
“We promised that no external or internal factors will ever be able to derail us from the path of responsible enviro-socio-economic business practices,” he said.
He added that with the future revenue and profits generated from the sale of existing range of products, the company is looking at new avenues of fresh investment in FMCG products like juices and dairy.
“The last three and half years’ journey in Zimbabwe has been excellent with our go to market system, affordable price and continuous supply enabled delivery of Pepsi products at the doorstep of retailers in the small villages and large cities in Zimbabwe,” said Mr Japuria.
He added that Varun Beverages had invested a large sum of money in the retail market by deploying free electronic coolers, plastic ice chests and branded push carts.
So far, the company has offered direct employment to over 2 000 local Zimbabweans, and up to 3 500 people in indirect employment.
Despite the turbulent economic environment in Zimbabwe characterised by an acute foreign currency shortage, Varun is upbeat about its investment in the economy, with the target of grabbing 50% of the market share by 2030.
Varun Beverages Zimbabwe 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.