S AFRICA: Consumers want more choice - Heineken CEO
Heineken to be brewed in South Africa
Heineken CEO Jean-Francois Van Boxmeer has hailed the opening of the firm's brewery with Diageo in South Africa as a victory for consumer choice.
Heineken and Diageo will make the new Sedibeng brewery the centrepiece of their plan to take on SABMiller in its home country.
At an opening ceremony attended by around 200 people yesterday, including members of the Heineken family, Van Boxmeer said: "There is room for competition in the country and that is what we want to bring to [South Africa].
"That is the adventure we are engaged in and we believe that South African people want to discover new things.”
The ZAR3.5bn (US$473m) brewery began operations late last year, but strong early demand for the firms' premium beers means that they have decided to raise capacity by a third, to 4m hectolitres, by September 2010.
Paul Walsh, CEO of Diageo, told attendees of yesterday's opening: “We forged a very important relationship and we are absolutely committed with continued investment and innovation to be the best premium drinks business in South Africa.
"We have a shared respect in developing this market place. We are definitely committed to South Africa and the Africa region and we believe the prospects are very very right. We will continue to invest here.”
In addition to Heineken and Diageo beers, Sedibeng will also brew Namibia Breweries' Windhoek lager. It will also supply ready-to-drink beverages Smirnoff Spin and Smirnoff Storm.
Diageo owns 25% of the brewery and Heineken 75%.
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