SABMiller to Build South Sudanís First Ever Brewery (Update1)
By Vernon Wessels
Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) -- SABMiller Plc, the worldís third- largest brewer, plans to build the first ever brewery in southern Sudan, a region which spent more than two decades fighting for independence from the mainly Muslim north.
The $37 million brewery, in the regionís capital of Juba, will start brewing operations in February, with the production of soft drinks starting ďshortly thereafter,Ē London-based SABMiller said in statement on its Web site dated Dec. 10.
Southern Sudan became a semi-autonomous region in 2005 after signing an accord that ended a 21-year civil war between the north, where itís illegal to sell alcohol, and the mainly Christian south. The region, which splits revenue from the countryís oil fields with its northern neighbor, will hold a referendum in 2011 that may lead to full independence.
The brewery will have a total capacity of 180,000 hectoliters (4.8 million gallons), said David Raad of David Raad & Associates, who spent two years helping SABMiller with the project, by phone from Juba today.
The market for beer in southern Sudan is currently served by imports from Uganda and Kenya. Demand is growing and SABMiller ďwanted to get in early,Ē Raad said.
The plant will create 200 direct jobs and have the potential to create as many as 6,000 indirect employment opportunities, he said. The brewery may also help Southern Sudan diversify its economy of 13 million mostly rural subsistence farmers away from oil, which accounts for 90 percent of government revenue.
SABMiller is planning further investment in the region next year to boost output, it said, without giving details.
The brewer of Peroni Nastro Azzuro said Nov. 13 that it will scrap projects in slowing markets, from eastern Europe to Colombia, while continuing with plans to invest in growing markets, including Africa, Poland and Peru.
To contact the reporter on this story: Vernon