VENTURES AFRICA – A Sh2.6 billion ($30 million) soft drinks manufacturing plant launched by Pepsi on Monday is expected to stiffen competition in the country’s non-alcoholic beverages industry as Coca-Cola also has operations in the country.
Pepsi and Coca-Cola are rival manufacturers of soft drinks and directly compete against each in most countries in Africa although Coca-Cola enjoys a dominant market position in most of the beverages markets on the continent. However, Pepsi is upping its game as shown by the commissioning of its latest manufacturing plant in Kenya.
Experts say the African soft drinks and alcoholic beverages sectors provide significant growth opportunities for soft drinks makers and brewery companies.
Pepsi’s soft drinks plant in Kenya will have capacity to manufacture about 600 bottles per minute. The plant, which has been set-up in the country’s capital, Nairobi, is being run by Pepsi’s agent in the country, Seven-Up Bottling Company Kenya (SBCK).
“We do understand the competitive nature of the market, the way our competitors are entrenched in this market. But we are also firm believers that with the right steps, we will soon take our fair share of the market,” said Faysal El-Khalil, the chairman of SBC’s chairman of SBCK during the plant’s opening ceremony on Monday.
The Pepsi plant will manufacture brands such as Pepsi-Cola, Mountain Dew, Miranda and 7-Up. Pepsi exited the Kenyan soft drinks manufacturing sector more than 40 years ago but made a decision to return to the country albeit on a smaller scale in 2010. It has now marked its return and intention to compete for a bigger share of the Kenyan soft drinks market.
“We are appropriately positioned to leverage the future potential of Kenya as a booming economy and look forward to being closely associated with the country’ prosperity,” added El-Khalil said.
Prices are expected to be in line with those of its rival, Coca-Cola, a move analysts say is aimed at competing at the same level with its rivals. Pepsi also has operations in other African countries such as Nigeria and Ghana while it has distribution agents in several other countries. It also has a significant presence in Tanzania.