By Kaleyesus Bekele
Considering the critical sugar shortage in the local market, Coca Cola Beverages Africa-Ethiopia is contemplating to buy one of the state owned sugar factories which the Ethiopian government floated for sale.
Soft drink makers use sugar as the main industrial input to produce soft drinks. Though the Ethiopian government has built ten sugar factories in the past years, most of them are not yet operational or they are not efficiently run. Consequently, sugar has become a scarce product forcing the government to import the bulk product.
Soft drink makers including Coca Cola has faced a critical challenge in satisfying their sugar demand. Coca Cola Beverages which believes in local sourcing has been compelled to import sugar from the international market. Given the fact that there is a foreign currency shortage importing sugar from overseas has become a daunting task.
To alleviate the hurdle the management of Coca Cola Beverages is undertaking a study to buy one of the state owned sugar factories, which the Ethiopian government floated for sale. If approved by the board, Coca Cola Beverages will start the procurement process.
Coca Cola Beverages has committed to invest 300 million USD over five years in Ethiopia. The bottler of Coca Cola, Fanta and Sprite soft drinks recently launched the production of mint drinks. The company last May inaugurated a state of the art bottling plant in Sebeta town, Dima locality built at a cost of 100 million USD sprawling on 146 hectares of land.
Coca Cola Beverages has five plants in Addis Abeba, Ambo, Bahir Dar, Dire Dawa, and Sebeta cities. The company has acquired a plot of land in Hawassa city to build its sixth bottling plant.
Coca Cola Beverages has 3500 employees and benefited 75,000 citizens through the value chain. As part of its corporate social responsibility scheme the company has built primary schools in Ambo, Bahir Dar, Sebeta cities.
It has also built water points in rural villages near Bahir Dar and Dire Dawa.
Coca Cola Beverages has been working in environmental projects such as collecting and recycling used plastic bottles. In this regard the company has funded the establishment of PETCO Ethiopia, an NGO that collects and recycles plastic bottles. Fire wood carrier women around mount Entoto have become benefices of this project.
The company which pays 5.4 billion Birr tax to the government has been recognized as a platinum tax payer and received an accolade from Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD).