PEPSI Zimbabwe, the local unit of Varun Beverages, says it has more than doubled production at its manufacturing and bottling plant in response to the shortages of soft drinks being experienced in the country.
BY FREEMAN MAKOPA
Varun Beverages is the largest bottler of PepsiCo products — Pepsi, Mirinda, Mountain Dew and Seven-Up outside the United States.
Zimbabwe’s market is dominated by Delta Corporation, which recently announced it had shutdown some of its plants due to foreign currency shortages.
Pepsi Zimbabwe corporate affairs general manager, Fungai Murahwa told the NewsDay that the company had increased its production capacity but refused to give details.
When Pepsi launched its plant in June this year, state media reported that it had an installed capacity of 600 000 bottles per day.
“We have recently invested additional $20 million and increased production capacity by 150%. We are operating at full capacity, with three shifts daily. We have done so in order to meet with the growing demand and also to have a better product on the market,” he said
“Varun Beverages has a very long term vision in Zimbabwe, and we are not too much concerned about the profits at this stage of our investment in our make, sell and deliver processes. The forex situation in the country is tough, but due to the fact that we belong to a large group with a global presence, as well as our ability to leverage on our position within PepsiCo, where we are the second largest bottler worldwide, we are getting extended credit lines from our off-shore suppliers.”
Murahwa said the group was exploring investment opportunities in juice-based beverages.
“To date, our total investment is approximately $50 million. We are investing in a Husky line to ensure production of preforms from resins as part of our cost management plan through backward integration. This will also see our requirement of foreign currency for packaging material going down significantly,” he said.
“In addition to this, we are working with farmers to invest in food processing units. We are looking for any other FMCG businesses for us to invest in and manage”.