International brewing giant SABMiller is planning to break ground in April this year with the construction of its planned 260,000 hectolitre brewery in Namibia, it said in a statement on Wednesday.
The company recently received approval for the re-zoning of 7.2 hectares of land in Okahandja where the brewery will be built and transfer of the land is expected in the next few weeks.
SAB said the brewery, which should be operational in 18 months, will be built on a space planned to "accommodate future growth".
In addition, SAB will invest in a 750 ml returnable bottle packaging line and warehousing facilities.
The estimated investment is N$360-million.
SAB MD Mauricio Leyva said the project had reached an important milestone.
"We are most pleased that we are now going to be moving ahead with the construction of the brewery," he said. "The local brewery will not only enable us to make more of our key brands available to consumers in the Namibian market, but it will also make a meaningful contribution to the Namibian economy once it is up and running.
"Jobs will be created, our environmental impact on the country will be reduced as we shift to returnable bottles and we will build on our existing programmes to uplift the local community."
In 2010, SABMiller announced the establishment of SABMiller Nambia (Pty) Ltd to house its operations in Namibia.
SABMiller Namibia is 60 percent owned by SABSA Holdings (Pty) Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of SABMiller, and 40 percent by local Namibian partners comprising 20 percent Onyewu Investments (Pty) Ltd and 20 percent by three charitable trusts for the benefit of local communities.
The formation of the new entity allowed for the allocation of a sizeable shareholding to local partners for nominal consideration, which was an important empowerment initiative, SAB said.
Leyva added: "With a brewery on the ground in Namibia, there will be social development contributions via the broad based black economic empowerment shareholding trusts which will benefit local communities through education, community health and poverty alleviation initiatives."
SABMiller's country representative Cobus Bruwer said that the company has a long history in Namibia, having imported beers to service the local market for more than two decades. "The company has an estimated 22% of the local market, with popular brands including Castle Lager, Carling Black Label and Castle Lite," he said.
Image: © SABMiller
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