Saudi Arabia-based Aujan Coca-Cola Beverages Company plans to spend $100 million to build a fruit-juice factory in Egypt over the next few years. “The money will cover buying the land and setting up the factory in Egypt, which Aujan sees as a North Africa hub, mainly for Algeria and Libya. The plant will be commissioned between 2016 and 2017. We just started working on it,” says vice president of strategy and business development Meshal Alkadeeb.
Having spent more than $100 million in the food and beverage sector across the Middle East, mainly in Dubai and Dammam, and having agreed to buy a majority stake in Lebanon’s National Beverage Company, Aujan feels the time is ripe to make this investment.
However, Alkadeeb is quick to point out, “Right now, the biggest challenge in investing in Egypt would be infrastructure. We’re talking about utilities. Water is very important and you need to make sure you get electricity for a food factory. Packaging and wrapping material in our industry is also a challenge as well as the facilities that allow you to export and re-export. Getting raw materials into Egypt or even sourcing it from inside is a big challenge and they’ve realised this and are working seriously on addressing the gaps,” he observes.