Savanna eyes African market

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Savanna Tobacco last week took delivery of a second multi-million-dollar cigarette-making machine as it forges ahead with its expansion drive and preparations to start exports to African countries.

The machine came three months after Savanna successfully installed and commissioned its 10-pack cigarette machine.

Adam Molai, the company’s executive chairman, said following the successful launch of the 10 Pack machine three months ago, and increased sales on the traditional 20-pack brands, the company was eyeing the African market.

“Our importation of the 10-pack machine, as well as the importation of the current machine, are co-ordinated to respond to our African research findings that informed us of the spending dynamics of consumers in Africa,” he said yesterday.

“We are now preparing ourselves for Africa. This machine seeks to fulfil the void existing in the local market as well as in Africa.”

Over 65% of cigarette consumption in Africa is believed to be at a sticks platform.

Savanna Tobacco’s installed capacity has grown to 4,5 billion sticks per annum in its 10-year existence.

“With the phenomenal growth in our brand acceptance, we have also seen counterfeiting of our brands increasing in our regional markets,” he said.

“All this is a co-ordinated effort to stifle our brands and ultimately our survival.

“We have had to invest a significant amount of time and resources to investigate and ascertain the origin and models run by these clandestine players.”

Molai said corporates operating in Africa should package their offerings to suit African dynamics rather than to continue to pursue eurocentric solutions to African dynamics.

He said cigarettes were manufactured within the parameters of food production and hence should be packaged in a manner that meets the highest hygiene standards.

“What you put on your lips can easily be contaminated if not properly packaged.

“We are discouraging naked cigarette stick sales and offering affordable quality products that are packed,” he said.

Molai said the company entered the industry with an idea and purpose of restoring and advancing African identity through beneficiation of local resources.

Pacific is Savanna Tobacco’s flagship brand.

Beyond direct marketing efforts, Molai said the company was seized with contract manufacturing for many international house brands for various customers.