From : Zimpapers.co.zw
By : Augustine Moyo
PLANS by Pan African Trade to set up a multi-million-dollar distillery in the country are on course.
Pan African Trade is a locally owned Zimbabwe company that has exclusive rights to distribute Radico Khaitan products in Zimbabwe and six other Southern African countries.
If completed, the distillery will be a direct competitor to locally listed African Distillers (Afdis).
Mr Sanil Pandey, director of Pan African Trade, said plans to set up a distillery in Zimbabwe at a cost of US$50 million are on course and will commence in 2012. He added that this development follows the granting of exclusive rights by Indian distillery giant Radico Khaitan to his organisation.
Radico Khaitan is an Indian company that is quoted on both the Mumbai and the National Stock Exchanges.
“The distributorship is our first step to introducing the premium brands, not only to the Zimbabwe market but Zambia, Malawi, Namibia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Botswana and Mozambique.
“We want to add value to the Zimbabwean economy by setting up a distillery for the manufacture of the same brands we are exclusively distributing,” he said.
Radico Khaitan is considered one of the largest liquor manufacturers in the world and has a 50-50 joint venture with London Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange-listed Diageo, the world’s leading premium drinks company with iconic brands such as Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness in its portfolio.
“We are successfully distributing Radico’s flagship brand 8PM Whiskey, Contessa Superior Whiskey, Crown Whiskey, Whytehall Whiskey, Old Admiral Brandy and Magic Moments vodkas now in Zimbabwe and beyond.
“Zimbabwe is the distribution hub for other Southern African markets namely — Zambia, Malawi, Namibia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Botswana and Mozambique. We are going beyond just distribution and once we set up a distillery for these products, Zimbabwe will transform into, not only a distribution hub, but also both manufacturing and distribution hub and in the process creating employment.
“Radico Khaitan has three millionaire brands in its portfolio and has more than 75 years in the liquor business. In Zimbabwe, as distributors we have a deal with some Spar retail outlets to retail them locally as part of our distribution channel,” explained Mr Pandey.
Experts opine that the spirits market is in a transitional phase, with many emerging trends that are reshaping the global spirits market landscape and forcing producers to constantly change and tailor their strategies on various geographic, demographic and cultural lines.
They contend that the growing strength of supermarkets is helping retailers to establish themselves as the major channel of distribution for alcoholic beverages as well as spirits.
Research reveals that Africa remains the smallest market for spirits and is dominated by South Africa since consumption in some countries on the continent suffers from low levels of income and poor distribution systems.
Mr Pandey added that they have put on the market a 50-millilitre sachet of Radico Khaitan’s premium 8PM Whisky to enable those with low levels of income to afford it.
Launched in 1999, the 8PM Whisky created a record among Indian and foreign brands by selling one million cases in the first year it went on that market.
He added that Zimbabwe has a huge untapped market for the giant Indian liquor manufacturer’s products, and is confident that with the positive developments in the economy, their investment in the multi-million-dollar distillery plant will yield the desired results.
India has been consolidating its position as the world’s number one whiskey market since 2003.
Meanwhile, New Ziana reports that Indian Commerce, Industry and Textiles Minister Mr Anand Sharma will this month visit Zimbabwe as the two countries continue to deepen trade relations. The visit by Sharma comes barely a month after another senior Minister from Delhi, Jyotiraditya Scindia, was in the country on a mission to explore new investment opportunities between the two countries.
The trip also coincides with the decision by the Zimbabwean Parliament to approve ratification of the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) signed with India in 1999.
Indian Embassy first secretary Mr Mukesh Kumar said the visit by Mr Sharma demonstrated the interest that the Asian economic powerhouse had to invest in Zimbabwe.
“Our Minister of Commerce, Industry and Textiles, Mr Anand Sharma, will be coming to Harare on October 19. This comes after the successful visit by an Indian delegation that came to Zimbabwe in September led by Minister Scindia,” he said.
Mr Kumar said the decision by Zimbabwe to ratify the outstanding BIPPA with India would pave way for jolting trade volumes between the two partners.
Currently, annual trade volume between the two countries is estimated at US$40 million. Mr Kumar said Sharma, who would be leading a delegation of industrialists, would be in Harare to scout for new investment opportunities.
He said economic relations between New Delhi and Harare were of mutual benefit to both countries.
“The visit demonstrates growing confidence among Indian business people to invest in Zimbabwe. These investors are willing to complement efforts by the Government of Zimbabwe to revitalise the economy,” said Mr Kumar.
Once Zimbabwe ratifies the BIPPA with India, the Southern African country would be eligible to access a US$5 billion loan facility that Delhi has extended to the continent.
As Indian investors continue to show great interest in Africa and Zimbabwe in particular, Essar group from Delhi will invest over US$4 billion to restore defunct Ziscosteel, now New Zimbabwe Steel.
The BRICS member state has also invested over US$5 million to set up small to medium enterprises (SMEs) training centres countrywide.-The Sunday Mail