Schweppes, manufacturers of Zimbabwe’s popular juices which include Mazoe Orange Crush, yesterday expressed concern at the rate at which their brands were being smuggled out of the country instead of them officially exporting the products.
Company managing director Charles Msipa said the fact that these drinks were finding their way into other countries meant they had to expand their business from domestic to international markets.
“The market has been very strong for our products and right now we only have the capacity to supply the domestic market, but we are making plans to supply the regional markets,” said Msipa.
“There has been smuggling of Mazoe drinks to other countries and that is why we have to make sure we look into the possibilities of exports.”
He was speaking before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce, chaired by Buhera North MP William Mutomba.
The committee had invited Schweppes officials to discuss the difficulties they had faced before the merger with Delta Beverages.
Msipa said it was important to ensure Schweppes satisfied the local market demands before exporting.
“In 2012 we will also be producing Minute Maid fruit juices for the local and regional markets. We are currently importing them from South Africa and Kenya. We managed to get $13 million investment to upgrade our capacity to be able to produce those Minute Maid juices locally,” he said.
MPs from the Industry and Commerce Committee warned the merger between Schweppes and Delta Beverages should not create a monopoly in the market because these monopolies normally resulted in shortages.
Msipa also told the committee Schweppes was a success story for indigenisation because 51% shares were owned by Whaterton Investments, which is composed of managers and employees of Schweppes, and 49% of the shares owned by Delta Beverages.
He said efforts by businessman Mutumwa Mawere to acquire Schweppes in 2003 hit a snag.
“My understanding is that those investment conditions between SMMH, Fidelity Life Assurance, Flame and Coca-Cola were not fulfilled and by 2005 Coca-Cola Company terminated that contract and took back the shares on an escrow account,” said Msipa.