Mutare Bottling starts sugar imports, says local producers failed to meet demand

Mutare Bottling starts sugar imports, says local producers failed to meet demand

MUTARE, March 8 (The Source) – Beverages manufacturer, Mutare Bottling Company (MBC) which is part of the Coca-Cola system in Zimbabwe, says it has started importing sugar from Malawi to mitigate against expected shortages in the local market.

MBC is owned by Econet Wireless Zimbabwe through its Pentamed investment vehicle, which has a 67 percent shareholding stake while the balance is held by the firm’s founders through their investment arm – Northunderland Investments.

“We (have) received six truckloads of sugar. Total tonnage received was 180 tonnes, which is part of a 300 ton consignment that we have a licence to import by the end of March,” said managing director Allen Lang in an e-mailed response to questions from The Source.

The company consumes 10 tonnes of sugar per day.

Lang said MBC had resorted to the foreign market as the local suppliers could not meet their demand.

“The imported sugar is to supplement sugar purchased from local suppliers who could not supply all our requirements for bottler grade sugar over the next few months. We have not been officially informed of a looming sugar shortage by our local suppliers that will affect their ability to supply our full requirements for the balance of the year,” he said.

Lang indicated that sugar sourced from COMESA countries was landing at a lower price than that sourced locally although the product sourced from SADC countries was at par with local suppliers.

MBC is one of the well performing companies in the eastern border city following its acquisition of a $17 million automated plant in 2014 with a total capacity to produce six million cases per annum.