Heineken plans EUR400m spend in DR Congo

Heineken plans EUR400m spend in DR Congo

Heineken could invest up to EUR400m (US$563m) in Democratic Republic of Congo over the next five years, despite ongoing concern about poor infrastructure and political violence in the country.

Heineken confirmed to just-drinks today (8 September) that it has earmarked EUR245m for DR Congo over the next three years. The funds will increase production capacity at existing breweries in Kinshasa, Bukavu and Kisangani, run by Heineken-controlled Bralima Breweries.

If the market continues to look promising, Heineken will invest a further EUR150m to build a new brewery near Kinshasa wihtin the next five years. "Heineken is bullish about Africa and the possibilities for ongoing growth in the region," a Heineken spokesperson told just-drinks. 

However, swathes of DR Congo (DRC) remain scarred by a civil war that officially ended in 2003, while infrastructure in the country is still poor. Most recently, there have been reports of escalating political violence ahead of presidential elections in November.  

Despite this, a Heineken spokesperson said: "DRC is an important and strong market for us and we will continue to invest in this market (as we see population growth, economic growth, relative political stability and improving infrastructure, the latter unlocking new local markets)."

Bralima's MD, Hans van Mameren, was quoted by Reuters yesterday as saying that per capita beer consumption in DRC is just three litres. That is one litre short of Ethiopia, where Heineken acquired Harar and Bedele breweries earlier this year.