Varun Beverages Zimbabwe says it has commenced construction of its $30 million Pepsi bottling plant in Zimbabwe with the group targeting to go into production next year.
In an update, Varun Beverages (Zimbabwe) Africa Director and Chief Executive Officer Shankar Krishnan said machines and equipment have been ordered and all resources required for the completion of the project were now in place.
“The construction of the Plant is now in full swing. The bottling equipment has been ordered and all required resources are in place for timely completion of the project.
“Based on our current networks, the plant is poised to be up and running by Q2 2017,” he said.
Trading as Varun Beverages Zimbabwe, the company is owned by Ravi Jaipuria, an Indian investor whose net-worth is over a billion dollars and a local company Glaciem (Pvt) Ltd.
The company which will also venture into the agro-industry, solar energy and healthcare is targeting an investment of almost $250 million in Zimbabwe over the next five years
Shankar said the priority for the group was to launch its Pepsi brands, but it would also look at introducing juice based beverages from the PepsiCo’s portfolio to augment the company’s market share and product offering.
“We would possibly look at juice based beverages in future. The decision to look at other sectors would be a factor of what our board decides as we move forward,” Shankar said.
Shankar said the group is bullish about the Zimbabwe market and feels this is the right time to enter the country
“Zimbabwe has huge potential for the beverage market and that is the reason we have decided to invest in this country. Yes, there are challenges currently but we are confident these are short-term,” Shankar said.
“To give you a different perspective, when we entered the Zambian market, it had been stagnant for years. After our entry in late 2010, the industry started to grow and today it has doubled in volumes,” he said. “We expect similar results in Zimbabwe.”
This, Shankar said, had brought in additional revenues to the government apart from creating new job opportunities and bringing additional business to ancillary units like the sugar industry, packaging Industry and transport.
Shankar said the entry of a new player in Zimbabwe would lead to price stability which would eventually benefit the consumers