SABMiller will look to increase its presence in Nigeria

SABMiller will look to increase its presence in Nigeria

SABMiller has opened a US$100m brewery in Nigeria as it looks to boost its presence in the country's competitive beer market. 

The site, in Onitsha, south-east Nigeria, is SABMiller's fourth in the country and will have an annual capacity of up to 500,000 hectolitres, the company said today (30 August). Newly-launched brand Hero Lager will initially be brewed at the facility.

Other brands including Trophy Lager, Grand Lager and non-alcoholic malt beverages Grand Malt and Beta Malt will follow later, SABMiller said. 

Work started on the site, the group's first greenfield brewery facility in the country, last year. 

Around 180 local people will be  employed at the brewery initially, the group said, increasing to about 450 workers as production volumes grow. 

"Today’s opening is an indication of our commitment to increase our capacity further and to consolidate our position on the continent whilst contributing positively to the local communities in which we operate,” said Mark Bowman, SABMiller Africa's MD. 

The group will be seeking to challenge Heineken's dominant position in the market. Last year the Dutch brewer, which holds a 55% share of the Nigerian beer market through its Nigerian Breweries and Consolidated Breweries units, purchased five more breweries in the country.

Also present in the country's beer market is Diageo, primarily through its Guinness brand. Last July, the group announced it was spending GBP225m (US$366.6m) to increase brewing capacity in the country.

SABMiller first entered the market in Nigeria in 2009 through a strategic alliance with Castel

The country is Africa’s second largest beer market and is growing at around 6% per annum, the group said.

However, per capita consumption remains a relatively low 10 litres per year compared to an average of 60 litres in the continent's largest beer market, South Africa.

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