New carbon dioxide capacity for South African Breweries

Staff reporter

Staff reporter

Global brewing giant SABMiller's subsidiary, South African Breweries (SAB), is planning to invest R100million in new carbon dioxide (CO2) capacity, as shortages of the gas continue to affect production at its soft drinks division ABI.

Michael Farr, SAB communications manager, said that supplies from the primary generators of CO2 were still not as reliable and efficient as the company would like them to be and it had there-fore taken the decision to become self-reliant.

"The normal daily production of CO2 from the four primary suppliers (Sasol, PetroSA, Natref and NCP) is around 275tonnes a day of which the Coca-Cola bottling system uses about 50percent. Of that, SAB's soft drink division requires about 71 tonnes a day and currently, we are only receiving about 45percent of that," said Farr.

He noted that Sasol's refinery was down for five days in the last fortnight, although it was up again, and Natref was in the middle of a maintenance shutdown, which would carry on until next week.

Farr added that while SAB had built up some reserves, the company would still experience shortages over the next few days because of the high demand. The company would prioritise Coca-cola, Coke Light, Fanta Orange and Sprite.

"Given the problems we have experienced and the increased demand for our products, we do not want to have this kind of vulnerability in the future. This prompted our decision to make this investment in capacity, which will provide somewhere between 55 and 65percent of our total needs," Farr concluded. - With I-Net Bridge