Schweppes Zimbabwe Limited is in the process of upgrading its plant after it secured $14,5 million to fund the project.
Volumes have so far grown by 33% this year and there are strong growth projections in future. In 2010 volumes grew by 68%.
Schweppes chairperson Sternford Moyo said: “The business has been able to secure medium-term funding for investment of $14,5 million in plant capacity upgrade, which is currently underway to enable expansion of our beverage offerings through production of innovative new juice-containing products under the minute maid brand in line with the business vision and mission.”
He said the plant capacity upgrade would be completed by upgrading company sales and distribution channels.
The plant upgrade follows a similar $20 million uplift done in 2005 when the country was going through an economic crisis.
He said in collaboration with other users of PET packaging, Schweppes has established the PET Recycling Company of Zimbabwe to collect and recycle containers.
“This project is to be fully operational commencing January 2012,” said Moyo.
Moyo said since dollarisation, business continued to grow as a result of an improved economic environment and a focused, empowered workforce.
Production is at an average of 13 000 cases of Mazowe per day, adding up to about 400 000 cases produced a month, said an official at the Schweppes plant at Willovale.
Schweppes group managing director Charles Msipa said capacity utilisation currently stood at 65%.
He said the wholesale price of Mazoe Orange Crush is $3,50, but most retailers use it as a loss leader hence the selling price of between $2,90 to above $3.
The group has six operational sites around Zimbabwe — two of which are manufacturing facilities — one in Harare and the other in Bulawayo.
Youth Development Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere said the Schweppes employee share ownership trust was the largest scheme to empower workers and management to effect the 51% shareholding consistent with the indigenisation law.
“The Schweppes employee ownership scheme of 51% is composed of 31% of the company‘s equity to the employees while the other 20% goes to management,” said Kasukuwere.
“This is an opportunity employee shareholders to recognise the obligation of partnership, which entails sharing success.
“Perhaps even talks of reckless industrial actions will become a thing of the past as all participating shareholders will share the burden of running the business.”
Kasukuwere said the indigenisation and empowerment programme was never meant to benefit elites, but the generality of indigenous Zimbabweans, with special focus on emancipating workers and citizens.
The 51% stake in Schweppes is held by Whaterton Investments, which comprises of the employee share trust, which holds 31% and Beverage Partners, which is a management consortium with 20% shares. Delta holds the other 49%.