31 August 2012
SABMiller opened its first greenfield brewery in Onitsha, south-eastern Nigeria on Thursday as the London- and Johannesburg-listed company moved to consolidate and grow its position on the continent.
“Work began on the Onitsha site in 2011 following an investment of over US$100-million, making it the largest single investment in Anambra State for almost 20 years,” SABMiller said in a statement.
“Over the past five years we have invested over $1-billion in Africa,” said Mark Bowman, managing director of SABMiller Africa. “Today’s opening is an indication of our commitment to increase our capacity further and to consolidate our position on the continent while contributing positively to the local communities in which we operate.”
According to Business Day, more than 90% of Africa’s $11-billion beer market is controlled by four big brewers, SABMiller, Heineken, Castel and Diageo – all drawn by the continent’s rapid economic and population growth.
The Onitsha brewery brings SABMiller’s total number of sites in Nigeria to four, having first entered the market in 2009 through its strategic alliance with Castel.
Nigeria is Africa’s second-largest beer market and is growing at around 6% per annum. However, average per capita consumption is still relatively low at around 10 litres per year, compared to an average of around 60 litres in Africa’s largest beer market, South Africa.
SABMiller’s portfolio of brands in Nigeria includes Grand Lager, Trophy Lager, Castle Milk Stout, Castle Lager, Eagle and Redds.
The new brewery will commence production of beer and malt with an annual capacity of up to 500 000 hectoliters.
Immediate direct job creation will see 180 local people employed, with that number increasing to approximately 450 as production volumes grow.
“Local raw materials such as sorghum and maize will be used where possible, supporting the local economy and the government’s efforts toward poverty eradication and job creation,” SABMiller said.