SAB to expand in Southern Sudan

GLOBAL brewing group SABMiller announced yesterday that its subsidiary company, Southern Sudan Beverages, was to invest an additional $15million (about R99million) in its operations in Southern Sudan to increase production capacity and build on the strong performance of its local brand portfolio.

SSBL's state-of-the-art brewery in Juba is operating at full capacity.

By November, the investment will have increased brewing capacity to a total of 500000 hectolitres.

The investment has come in response to very positive consumer acceptance of SSBL's brands in its first two years of operation and would enable the company to service the entire Southern Sudanese market with a balanced and affordable portfolio of brands, SABMiller noted.

The popularity of the newly launched White Bull brand and the locally brewed and bottled Nile Special brand has driven the increase in production capability.

However, improved capacity will also give the company the flexibility to introduce new brands to the market.

Ian Alsworth-Elvey, the managing director of SSBL, said: "Our investment in Southern Sudan continues to bear fruit due to the country's improving economic outlook and a continued positive consumer response to our brand portfolio."

SSBL commissioned its brewery in Southern Sudan in 2009 and invested $37million (about R246million) to build the facility in Juba.

To date, its operations in the region have created employment for 200 Sudanese.

Its pioneering land-lease agreement ensures that the local community receives royalties from the development and benefits from the business's continued success.

SSBL, through SABMiller, is one of the largest private sector contributors to the Southern Sudanese economy, paying excise tax at both national and state level.

In 2010, SABMiller won nearly $1million (about R6million) funding from the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund to introduce an innovative local sourcing model for cassava, which will provide the ingredients from which beer will be brewed.

SABMiller is partnering with leading nongovernmental organisation FARM-Africa to implement the initiative, which will bring direct and significant long-term market opportunities for about 2000 smallholder farmers with dependants, as well as other employment effects ensuring about 15600 people could benefit in three years.