Nairobi Bottlers Limited, the leading independent bottling franchise of Coca-Cola in Kenya, has recently made a significant investment of Shs1.2 billion in a state-of-the-art preform manufacturing plant. This strategic move comes in response to the increasing demand for plastic bottled products in the market. The new facility will enable Nairobi Bottlers to produce preforms, which are essential in the manufacturing process of plastic bottles used for packaging Coca-Cola soft drinks and Dasani water. Previously, the company relied on independent suppliers within the country for these raw materials. This substantial investment is part of Nairobi Bottlers' growth strategy, aiming to capitalize on emerging opportunities both domestically and in the export markets across the region. With this new plant, the company's total investment alone reaches over Shs3 billion within a year.

During the inauguration of the preform plant situated along Nairobi's Kangundo Road, Patrick Pech, Managing Director of Nairobi Bottlers, highlighted the motive behind establishing the facility. The growing demand for plastic bottled products required the company to spend significant amounts on procuring preforms. The new facility is expected to save Nairobi Bottlers millions of shillings previously spent on purchasing preforms from independent suppliers. The funds saved will now be redirected towards the company's business expansion programs.

Pech emphasized that this investment was driven by the projected growth of their business and the necessity to expand operations to better serve consumer needs. The decision to invest aggressively, including the establishment of a PET (plastics) line last year and now the preform plant, positions Nairobi Bottlers to achieve year-on-year business growth and meet the ever-increasing consumer demand for Coca-Cola brands.

The preform manufacturing machines installed at the plant have a combined capacity to produce over 0.9 million pieces of preforms per day, fulfilling the demand both locally and in the export market. Nairobi Bottlers plans to initially export the preforms to East African Community (EAC) markets, starting with Uganda and Tanzania, followed by Ethiopia and Mozambique. The company has observed a growing preference for plastic packaging, which currently holds a 70% market share compared to glass.

In addition to the preform plant, Nairobi Bottlers invested Shs1.26 billion last year in a PET manufacturing line located in Embakasi, Nairobi. The company plans to double this investment within the next two years to keep up with the expanding market. The PET line currently produces 28,000 bottles per hour, effectively doubling Nairobi Bottlers' capacity to 12 million physical cases annually.

The introduction of the new facility is expected to generate direct employment opportunities at the plant and indirectly benefit individuals involved in the value chain, including collectors and transporters. Nairobi Bottlers aims to contribute to both job creation and the overall economic growth of the region.