Multinational beverage and brewing company Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB-InBev) subsidiary South African Breweries (SAB) will invest R2.8-billion into brewery expansions, including two new packaging lines for returnable glass bottles, at its Alrode and Rosslyn breweries, in Gauteng.
During a media tour of SAB’s Alrode bottling plant on Tuesday, the Johannesburg-based brewing and bottling major announced that its investment would be in addition to the public interest commitments made by AB-InBev during last year’s acquisition of SABMiller, whereby AB-InBev agreed to invest R1-billion in South Africa over five years.
SAB noted that the new packaging lines will have the capacity to bottle 45 000 bottles an hour and that SAB will purchase four-million crates and 48-million bottles to start production.
The Alrode packaging line will be in production by August, while Rosslyn’s packaging line will be on line by October 2017.
The expansions at both breweries will create additional part-time job opportunities and, once both packaging lines are running, they will create up to 70 new full-time jobs.
The cost of expansion at Alrode, including the packaging equipment and building works, will be more than R1.3-billion, while the Rosslyn expansion, which also includes a new brewhouse, will cost R1.5-billion.
The new imported brewhouse at Rosslyn is capable of 14 brews a day of 750 hectolitres, and is scheduled to be in operation by the first half of next year.
AB-InBev Africa president Ricardo Tadeu told Engineering News Online that the investment would help increase SAB’s capacity by between 7% and 8%.
“This investment will also have a positive impact on South Africa’s agriculture and agroprocessing sectors. We are investing in the local production of barley, which will [hopefully] assist South Africa to become exporters of barley as a raw material,” he said.
Tadeu added that, by creating jobs and driving economic growth and investment, SAB would contribute towards the company’s sustainable development goals, which are aligned with South Africa’s National Development Plan.
“We strive to create a growing world where everyone has the opportunity to improve their livelihood,” he said.
Also speaking at the media tour, Gauteng Premier special adviser Mduduzi Mbada highlighted SAB’s investment as one of the biggest and most significant investments in the South African private sector.
“It’s proof that if we continue to work in partnership, we can have success in igniting our economy. The investment is a highly welcome indicator of confidence by the private sector in the economy and is a direct response to poverty and inequality in our communities,” he said.
Meanwhile, AB-InBev and SAB chairperson Jabu Mabuza was optimistic about how the investment would increase confidence and grow the economy.
“Fixed investment, which leads to confidence, is one of the key components needed to drive economic growth in a country. In turn, this helps to create jobs and encourages foreign investment, which is not going to happen if domestic investment does not take place,” he said.
Mabuza added that, at the onset of the global business combination between SABMiller and AB-InBev, the agenda was one of growth and investment.
He pointed out that this commitment was made to grow and make a real difference in South Africa and that it had been accelerated through SAB’s investment.
“This investment is an important vote of confidence in the beer category and the South African economy at large,” he noted.