Kenya’s manufacturing industry is set to grow with the entry of GZ Industries, one of Africa’s largest aluminium can manufacturers, currently with factories in Nigeria. Expected to be ready in Quarter 1, of next year, the $100 million facility will have an annual production capacity of 1.2 billion cans per year.
As East Africa’s first aluminium can manufacturing plant, the GZI facility will be located on a 50 Acre plot in Sultan Hamud near Nairobi logistically well placed for the local beer & beverage industry and will start supply to the local market in early 2015.
It will follow GZI’s successful model in Nigeria and will receive support from its shareholders whom are active widely across the region. The decision to invest in an aluminium can line follows a significant upturn in Kenya’s canned beverages market during the past two years and continuous demand from Kenya. Total annual production of sodas in the Kenyan market is reaching new highs, with a record 371.4 million liters in 2011.
Aluminium can packaging has also been growing in the beer market as imported canned beer and soft drinks claim the interest of up-market drinks buyers. Kenya already leads other East African countries in the beer market with total production of 2.8 million hectolitres (hl).
“Fueled by the demands of our customers and in line with the country’s vision 2030 of an industrialised economy, we mark our entry to the Kenya as a way of contributing to the growth of the manufacturing sector,” said the GZI’s CEO, Mr. Motti Goldmintz. “Besides developing the economy we hope to bring a new face to Sultan Hamud and its more than 20,000 residents.”
The technical skills to manufacture aluminium cans are very specific and are currently not available in Kenya, but expatriate employees will assist the local team in setting-up the plant and rolling out the training to ensure a fully skilled team of Kenyan staff and managers to take over the come running of the plant.
All the cans used in packaging canned beers and soft drinks are currently imported into Kenya and East Africa, creating a rising import need as the consumption of canned beverages increaes. The export of Kenyan beers is also being hampered by the use of bottles, which are bulky and prone to breakages. As the country now views more vigorous export growth its position as a leading producer is set to benefit from access to lower cost, domestically produced aluminium cans.
The Sultan Hamud based plant will also generate new exports of its own, catering principally for the Kenyan market but also for the growing demand from the other regional markets, including Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Burundi.
With consumers becoming more aware of their impact on the environment and a growing trend of changing their lifestyles to reduce their carbon footprint, the average in-store consumer views a product’s packaging as the most important factor to consider, before purchasing the product.
GZI is at the forefront in developing aluminium can packaging technologies that are sustainable and cost-effective and appeal to consumers’ ethics and ecological concerns. The value of used aluminium cans is considerable – aluminium scrap is many times more valuable than steel and is able to be recycled at low cost.
GZI Kenya Ltd was incorporated in March 2013 with the aim of replicating the success of the company in Nigeria. GZI is involved in the manufacturing of long, sleek cans currently used primarily for energy drinks, along with the 33cl and the 50cl beverage cans. The business will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, once production begins, and is set to employ about 200 employees locally as well as expatriates for specific skills set.