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Amoz Nzeyi, Crown Beverages Executive Chairman who was speaking at stakeholders’ dinner to mark the 20th anniversary held at Kampala Serena Hotel on April 15, said the company’s 20 years of solid and profitable performance had set a foundation for a more robust growth.
“The last 20 years have been such a great experience. We believe, we have set a more solid foundation on which we shall build an even greater company over the next 20 years so as to leverage growth opportunities within Uganda,” said Nzeyi, adding, “I have no doubt that with the support from PepsiCo, a dedicated local team as well as the huge love from our consumers; the next 20 years, will be even greater.”
“We have made significant investments into new products, bottling lines thereby creating more demand and loyalty for our brands. The market has rewarded us with more loyalty, allowing us to grow our sales volumes from by 900 percent from 2 million raw cases (2.4m 8 oz cases of soda) in 1993 to 20m raw cases (25m 8 oz cases) in 2013 6, ” said Nzeyi.
Among the people who attended the dinner was Hon Amama Mbabazi, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda, Saad Abdul-Latif, PepsiCo Chief Executive Officer for Asia, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) and Mr Sanjeev Chadha, PepsiCo President for Middle East and Africa (MEA) region.
Simon Lugoloobi, CEO Crown Beverages, attributed the growth of the company to consistent investments into the right product mix that has offered consumers more choice as well as the brands’ unswerving engagement with their consumers, which has increased loyalty and created stronger relationships.
“One of our major success stories in the past 20 years has been our ability to not only grow the strength of our existing brands but the ability to bring new brands to life and oversee their successful growth into key brands,” he said.
He added: “A case in point is Mountain Dew that was launched in the market 4 years ago but has grown to become one of Uganda’s most loved Soda brands appealing to consumers all over the country. This plus the staying power of Pepsi and Mirinda have helped catapult us to a position where our brands are some of the most highly rated in the market.”
The company’s brand portfolio includes: Pepsi-Cola, the flagship brand, Mountain Dew Mirinda (Fruity, Orange, Pineapple and the recently launched Mirinda Green Apple), 7UP and Evervess. These are available in 300ml returnable glass bottle, 500ml, 1 litre and 2 litre recyclable plastic bottles. The company also bottles mineral water under the Peak brand.
Saad Abdul-Latif, reiterated PepsiCo’s growing interest in Africa said that the global foods and drinks giant, is committed to consolidating its recent gains in Uganda and elsewhere on the continent, as the next drivers of growth.
“Africa is the next Asia. The continent is the developing world’s next great success story and at PepsiCo we want to be right at the centre of that success story, working with local teams to leverage our years of best practices and the world’s best brands so we can together match to a great future,” he said.
He added: “We are very committed, to continue building Crown Beverages into an outstanding business and given our achievements over the last 20 years and the tremendous potential we see in Uganda, nothing is going to stop us.”
In Mbabazi remarks he praised the staff, management and directors of Crown Beverages for their resilience, hard work and setting a good example to other Ugandan entrepreneurs.
“I am proud to stand along with the board, management and staff, but most importantly, millions of your consumers and thump my chest and say- We have made it because the success of every Ugandan business is ultimately a success for all of us,” he added.
He also said that the success of Crown Beverages is a national treasure and an opportunity for all Ugandans to learn about the importance of resilience, honesty and hard work as key elements of success.
“The Crown Beverages story is one of those inspiring stories that should be shared with many of our entrepreneurs and owners of start-ups who are still struggling. They need to understand that success is not an overnight affair and nor is it a smooth road- but rather a result of hard work, resilience and personal sacrifices – all towards a common vision,” he said.
Lake Victoria Bottling Co. Ltd started production in 1951 as the franchisee bottler for PepsiCo, but was in 1993 privatized to a consortium of local investors, who renamed it Crown Bottlers Ltd. In 1997, International Pepsi-Cola Bottler Investments, a South African firm acquired a 51 percent stake in the company and renamed it Crown Beverages Ltd. In 2001, the 3 local shareholders, Amos Nzeyi, Chris Kayoboke and Dr Margaret Kigozi re-acquired 100 percent control of the company.
Following decades of investment that has seen 4 new glass bottling lines and 1 plastic packaging line added to the Nakawa-based plant and several new products introduced, the company today has witnessed unprecedented growth and is today one of the leading employers and tax payers in the country.