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Heineken to be brewed in Rwanda?


Rwanda’s major brewer, Brasserie et Limonaderie du Rwanda (Braliwa) is preparing to begin producing Heineken beer brand which is mostly imported.

| THE INDEPENDENT | According to one report, since Heineken beer started gaining prominence in the Rwandan market, high possibilities emerged that the drink will be brewed in the country and exported to regional countries. The report cited Rwanda’s ambassador to The Netherlands, the home country of the product, Jean Pierre Karabaranga.

On his twitter account, Karabaranga reportedly said that the deal is a result of government of Rwanda efforts in attracting investment in the country.

“Heineken beer is to be produced in Rwanda soon and exported in the region, thanks to the attractive doing business climate,” reads his twit.

It is anticipated that the production of Heineken products in Rwanda will be done by Bralirwa, a Rwanda’s brewer company of which Heineken N.V owns 75% shares.

Karabaranga said the selection of Bralirwa to brew Heineken was motivated by excellent and attractive doing business climate in Rwanda. It is expected to spur exports and reducing the trade imbalance in the country.

Heineken’s current chairman and CEO, Jean-François van Boxmeer, understands the African beer market very well. Before his appointment in 2005, he had worked for Heineken in Rwanda in the 1990s, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Poland and Italy.

According to one report, he believes the two key markets for Heineken are Africa and India.

Another report says Heineken has for some time now set its sights on a growing beer market in Africa with a burgeoning middle class, an increasing number of people coming into the legal drinking age, and rising disposable incomes.

And Heineken has been targeting Africa with a range of localised brands as well as the recognisable international brands as a significant portion of the group’s operating profit continues to come from Africa.

Bralirwa, which is Rwanda’s largest brewing company, was founded in 1957 and produced its flagship beer brand- Primus. The company later diversified its products by adding on its list Mutzig, Turbo, Amstel, Legend and soft beverages.

With the stiff competition of Skol brewing company, Bralirwa found itself in the discomfort zone where its revenues dropped by 82% in its profit before tax to Rwf 929million in the first half of 2016 down from Rwf 5.1 billion.

The company bounced back with an increase of 20.7% from Rwf 5.8 billion to Rwf 7.0 billion, in the first half of 2017 thanks to strict cost management.

When the news first broke, Fred Nyangenzi, Head of Corporate and Communications department at Bralirwa Company, reportedly told KTPress, “the official information of the company about this development will be out this afternoon”. There has, however, been no major follow up on the news.

Bralirwa began to import Heineken beer from The Netherlands in 1991. Currently, Heineken beer consumed in the country is produced in Nigeria.

Founded in the 19th century, Heineken produces and sells more than 250 brands including Desperados tequila-flavoured beer, Sol and Strongbow cider.

It employs about 73,500 people around the world. Heineken is the world’s second-largest brewer after global number one AB InBev clinched a mega deal for its nearest rival SABMiller in November 2015. It was the third biggest takeover in global corporate history.

In 1971, the Heineken Group acquired a 70% majority share in Bralirwa. With the acquisition, Bralirwa greatly improved its brewing process. In 1974, Bralirwa diversified into the production of soft drinks. A soft beverages plant was opened in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital and largest city. The brewer partnered with the Coca-Cola Company, which allowed Bralirwa to widen the range of products manufactured.

Bralirwa limited is today a public company limited by shares since 2010 and was the first company listed on the Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE) as from January 2011.


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