Aujan unveils $500m expansion plans
The company will invest in additional capacity across its three plants, new packaging innovations, and IT upgrades to support its growth. Last year Aujan saw double-digit growth, and announced new projects and acquisitions in Egypt and Lebanon, expanding beyond its GCC base.
Growth up despite unrest
“Robust expansion plans will enable [Aujan] to realise the vision of its shareholders across the Middle East and North Africa. We already have a portfolio of strong brands, and an excellent track record as a regional beverage operator,” said Nicolaas Nusmeier, CEO of Aujan.
“Major investments in capacity, geographical coverage, and brand development will allow us to capitalise on the growth potential for the beverage industry in the MENA region. Despite political and economic disruption over the past few years, the regional beverage market has continued to grow, and we expect this to continue,” he added.
Last July Aujan completed its acquisition of a majority stake in National Beverage Company (NBC), the local producer of Coca-Cola in Lebanon. The firm bought its stake from distribution company Transmed, which retained a holding in NBC.
“We have entered into this partnership with Transmed with the clear intention of growing NBC and its people over the long term. We are also keen to tap into the local talent pool as the business expands,” said Nusmeier at the time.
Youth to drive expansion
In March 2014 Aujan announced it would build a US$100m fruit juice factory in Egypt, to capitalise on the revitalised Egyptian economy. The firm joined fellow drink giants PepsiCo and Almarai, which unveiled a US$345m joint venture in Egypt.
“For [Aujan], an increasingly youthful population across MENA together with opportunities for new categories and fresh consumer-focused innovations mean significant growth prospects,” said Nusmeier at Gulfood this week.
“[Aujan] is putting in place a strategy to become one of the biggest beverage operators in the region, growing from a company within a single category and a limited geography into a total beverage, multi-country, powerhouse,” he added.
Since Coca-Cola bought a 50% stake in Aujan for US$980m in 2012, the firm has seen significant regional expansion. It currently operates factories in the UAE, Dammam in Saudi Arabia, and in Lebanon, with its Egyptian factory expected to be operational by 2017.