Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (Uganda) officially broke ground for a brand new US$8.35million (UGX 30.7billion) Manufacturing Line to in a move that will intensify competition in the industry that they currently dominate alongside Pepsi and Highland Natural Mineral water manufactured by NC Beverages Limited in Kawempe.
The new bottling line at the Namanve site operated by Century Bottling Company will have a capacity of producing 24,000 bottles an hour, accelerating the production of mineral water. Their flagship Rwenzori Mineral Water started in 1993 by Indian businessman Mahmood Somani is drilled from a rich artisan well in Namanve, around one of Uganda’s natural wetlands. The source has one of the purest fresh, natural mineral water in Uganda
According to Ms. Maureen Kyomuhendo, the Public Affairs & Communications Manager Coca-Cola Uganda, the entire US$8.35million (UGX30.7billion) investment will bring to Uganda the newest bottling line technology out of Germany and is part of a US$15 Million investment plan Coca-Cola Beverages Africa has for Uganda alone in 2018.
Minister of State for Investment and Privatisation, Hon. Evelyn Anite, officiated at the ground-breaking ceremony after conducting a tour of the Namanve Plant and welcomed Coca-Cola’s additional investments saying they are to benefit citizens and support the economy.
Ag. Managing Director, Mrs. Martha Munnu Omer assured guests of the investment commitments of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (Uganda), which runs three subsidiaries.
“We employ about 1,800 Ugandans in our three plants in Kampala, Mukono and Mbarara, and support more than 90,000 businesses across our extensive retail distribution network. Coca-Cola Beverages Africa is proud to make these contributions on top of paying taxes to the tune of more than UGX140billion annually. We are serious about doing business in Uganda and supporting this economy,” Mrs. Omer said.
Currently, bottled water of 500g costs on average sh1000 while most 300 ml bottles sell at sh2000.
The influx of water bottling companies on the Uganda market has however brought with it a series of attendant challenges, mainly stemming from the stiffer competition. Chief executives of some of the leading water bottling companies complained that due to the intensity of competition, some firms were engaging in unscrupulous practices.
Coca Cola’s Rwenzori brand has in the past years seen its dominancy in the bottled water market eaten into after controlling more than 65 percent of the market a decade ago. There are over 70 bottled water brands in Uganda with the costs of production are increasing.
Some of the new bottled water brands on the market are said to be wanting and their quality is questioned. But, Ugandans don’t seem to value, quality, in most cases, they go for anything near them, that is cheaper and most cases quantity is a priority to them, no matter the quality.
Upcountry businessmen have bottled water brands doing for instance in Hoima, there is Albertine Mineral Water, said to be owned by Kabagambe Kalisa – former Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Energy while in Masaka, the Catholic Parish, do produce bottled water called Banana Font. Mbarara, Tororo, West Nile, etc, all have their regional bottled water.
By investing in a new bottled water manufacturing line, Coca Cola will ride on an enhanced capacity of producing 24,000 bottles an hour with an effective distribution, making its products readily available anywhere, anytime.