MAPUTO. — Coca-Cola Sabco last week announced the official opening of its world-class bottling facility in Matola Gare, near Maputo, Mozambique. This opening is part of the company’s ongoing investment in world-class manufacturing capabilities on the African continent. The plant, built over three years at a cost of $130 million, is the largest green-field facility in Coca-Cola Sabco’s history across its seven-country regional market in Africa.With fully computerised operations, including energy, waste water recycling and building management systems, the firm is targeting Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accreditation for these environmental stewardship initiatives.

The plant’s 300ml glass bottling line — capable of bottling 48 000 bottles per hour — is the largest bottling line in Sabco’s regional footprint, that includes Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.

Mozambique’s President, Filipe Nyusi, said at the inauguration of the plant: “Coca-Cola was one of the first global companies to invest in the country after our independence. Not even the devastating flood we experienced in 2000 could stop Coca-Cola. Its investment in job creation and the growth of skills in Mozambique is testament to the company’s commitment to assisting us grow the economy of the country. We would like to congratulate Coca-Cola on the opening of this technologically advanced bottling plant.”

Joining leaders from Sabco and President Nyusi in opening the new facility, Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, said: “Coca-Cola has been investing in Africa for almost 90 years and is today present in every African country with over 70 000 employees across 145 bottling and canning facilities. We have continued to increase investment in our business in Africa with $17 billion committed across our system for investments in distribution, infrastructure, manufacturing and marketing during this decade.

“We are proud to be one of the largest employers across Africa as well as Mozambique. Today’s opening in Mozambique is the latest example of our continued commitment to refresh African consumers, while at the same time creating opportunities for enterprise and employment along our supply chain.”

The Matola Gare site combines operations from two other sites in Maputo — Distribudora and Machava — with the aim of increasing operational efficiencies.

According to Coca-Cola Sabco Mozambique managing director, Simon Everest, “The plant was built with our long-term vision in mind, which is in order to thrive as a business over the next 10 years and beyond, we need to look ahead and understand the trends and forces that will shape our business in the future — and be able to move swiftly to prepare for what’s to come. The Matola Gare plant, which will generate operational cost savings of over US$20 million over 10 years, is an example of how we are getting ready for tomorrow, today.

“By bringing both the existing bottling and distributorship operations under one roof at a 21-ha facility, Sabco has invested over US$2 million on training and developing employees in preparation for managing the new plant. The new plant will also increase peak efficiency, reduce lead times and allow us to increase our speed to market. Over time, and as the plant operations grow, more employment opportunities will be created in our supply chain,” Everest continued.

Initially, the Matola Gare plant will operate two lines, a glass bottling line with installed capacity capable of bottling 48 000, 300 ml-glass bottles per hour (bph), or 14,3 million physical cases annually and a plastic bottle (PET) line that can produce 24 000, two-litre bph or 28,6 million physical cases per year. The plant also has provision for a second glass bottling line of similar capacity.

Coca-Cola Sabco is 80 percent owned by Gutsche Family Investments and its headquarters are in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Coca-Cola Sabco has been a Coca-Cola bottler since 1940, having grown to be Africa’s second largest Coca-Cola Franchised Bottler.

In 1995, the Gutsche family merged their bottling interests with The Coca-Cola Company’s interest in Africa in order to expand and further develop Coca-Cola Sabco’s beverage interests in Africa. Coca-Cola Sabco employs approximately 8 000 staff across its bottling operations in South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Uganda. — Online.

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