Nigerian beverage-can maker, GZ Industries Limited, based in Agbara, Ogun State, has said that it will open a new plant in Kenya in 2016.
The Sultan Hamud plant which GZ Industries started building in 2014 is nearing completion and will produce about 2.4bn cans yearly. In September, the company announced that it was expanding into South Africa with the construction of a 1bn rand ($71 million) factory in Johannesburg.
The Sultan Hamud plant lies on the main railway line of Kenya Railways, which connects the coastal city of Mombasa and the capital Nairobi.
GZ Industries Chief Financial Officer, Gary Shatwell, told the Business Daily, “Significant construction works have been undertaken and we expect to begin operations towards the end of quarter one or early quarter two next year.”
The company’s plans to shift focus to Kenya came as a result of the country’s market preference for cans over glass as a cost-cutting measure.
According to a March 2015 report by SciDev.net, Kenyans researchers from the University of Nairobi, with support from Bio-Resource Innovations Network (Bio-Innovate), have projected a favorable future for the Kenyan canning industry.
The Kenyan Daily Nation reported that GZ Industries factory in Kenya will be the first in the East African region. The company will develop the local manufacturing industry and transfer knowledge of can manufacturing to the local population.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has taken an interest in making an $80 million equity investment in GZ Industries. The investment, according to media reports, will enable the company set up four separate plants, including the Kenyan plant. “The project will replace imported beverage cans with locally produced products in Kenya, which currently imports all can requirements, saving foreign exchange,” IFC said in a document.