Nigeria’s GZ Industries will open a canning plant in Kenya in 2016. The Sultan Hamud canning plant which GZ Industries (GZI) started building in 2014, is nearing completion and is billed to produce about 2.4 billion cans annually. This comes after the company announced plans to spread its canning business to South Africa in September 2015. Sultan Hamud is a small town located in Kasikeu division of Makueni County in Kenya. It lies on the main railway line of Kenya Railways between the coast at Mombasa and the national capital of Nairobi.
GZI’s Chief Financial Officer, Gary Shatwell, told the Business Daily; “Significant construction works have been undertaken and we expect to begin operations towards the end of quarter one or early quarter two next year.”
GZ Industries was established in 2006 by Standard Chartered Private Equity, Verod Capital Management, Ashmore Private Equity and a group of individual investors. Currently, it is domiciled in Abia and Ogun states in Nigeria.
GZI is West Africa’s leading aluminium can manufacturer and they are dedicated to environmental preservation.
The plan to shift focus to Kenya has been spurred on by the Kenyan market’s preference for cans over glass as a cost-cutting measure. It seems GZI is headed for a highly lucrative market as a March 2015 report by SciDev.Net indicates that Kenyan researchers from the University of Nairobi, with support from Bio-resource Innovations Network for Eastern Africa Development (Bio-Innovate), have projected a favorable future for the Kenyan canning industry.
According to the Daily Nation Kenya, the GZ factory in Kenya will be the first in the East Africa region. It will therefore develop the local manufacturing industry and transfer knowledge of can manufacturing among the local population.
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It appears GZ Industries is not alone in the building of a sustainable canning industry in East Africa, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has indicated interest in making an $80 million (Sh8.2 billion) equity investment in the firm. The investment, according to media reports, will enable GZI set up four separate plants, including the Kenyan plant. “The project will replace imported beverage cans with locally produced products in Kenya, which currently imports all can requirements, saving foreign exchange,” IFC said in a document.