Namibia Brewery Limited (NBL) Managing Director, Wessie van der Westhuizen, said NBL will not change its operations, despite having SABMiller Namibia investment as direct competition now.
For many years, NBL has been the only company with a brewery in Namibia but with the news that a new N$420m SABMiller brewery is set to open its doors in Okahandja this month will be competition in the brewery market is set to toughen up.
However, van der Westhuizen said NBL’s marketing strategy is based on consumer needs and demands and not competitor activities.
“We will focus on long term sustainability, customer and consumer needs and demands, world class brands and innovation and of course authentic relationships with both internal and external stakeholders will remain key for us going forward,” he said.
He added that, “NBL and SABMiller have been competing for many years in the Namibian market. NBL will continue to execute its long-term business strategies.”
With the Namibian clear beer market estimated to be 1.4m hectoliters Van der Westhuizen said in reference to the population of over just 2 million people in the country, the market can’t accommodate many more breweries.
“With the estimated 1.4m hectoliters with NBL having 87% of that market share. From a global perspective this is seen as a rather small market,” he said.
SABMiller’s history in Namibia goes back two decades when it began importing beers, including popular South African brands, Castle Lager, Carling Black Label and Castle Lite, to service the local market. These three brands will now be produced at the new brewery.
In addition to job creation – with about 165 jobs on the cards – it has also emerged that the company’s full integration into Namibia comes with the formation of a new entity, giving a sizeable shareholding to local partners for nominal consideration.
The total investment in the brewery is estimated at USD$45.7m (N$420-million). SABMiller will fully fund the project. SABMiller Namibia will be 60% owned by SABSA Holdings (Pty) Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of SABMiller, and 40% by local Namibian partners – comprising 20% Onyewu Investments (Pty) Ltd and 20% by three charitable trusts for the benefit of local communities.
The company plans to invest in a 750ml returnable bottle packaging line and warehouse facilities. While the installed capacity of the brewery is 260 000 hectolitres per annum, this is expandable to 400 000 hl.