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Aluminum Maker Ventures into Water Bottling

South Spring will be the 86th bottled water in the country

September 14 , 2019
By YOSEPH MERGU ( FORTUNE STAFF WRITER )


From left to right, Arie de Keijzer  Operation manager of Krones in Ethiopia, Abrham Tilahun Sales manager of Krones in Ethiopia, Berhanu Getahun, board chairperson of the company, Biruk Haile, founder of B & C Aluminum Plc  at the press conference held at Harmony Hotel.

B & C Aluminum Plc, a local pioneer in aluminum production, invested over 410 million Br to set up a water bottling plant, in Aregobena Wereda of Sidama Zone.

Garanba Bottling Plc, which is located 345Km south of Addis Abeba, rests on six hectares of land and uses groundwater from Garanba Mountain, which is  3,000m above sea level. Branded as South Spring, the water is packed in 0.33lt, 0.6lt, 1.2lt and two-litre bottles.

The owners of the company invested four million euros in importing the machinery from Germany. The Krones Beverage Industry Group, a company that builds technologically-advanced machinery for the water bottling and beverage industry, supplied the machinery.

It took seven years for Garanba Bottling to complete the construction of the plant, according to Berhanu Getahun, board chairperson of the company, adding that the major challenges were securing foreign currency to import the machinery and installing an 11Km pipeline from the mountain to the plant.



Garanba Bottling Plc, which is located 345Km south of Addis Abeba, rests on six hectares of land and uses groundwater from Garanba Mountain, which is  3,000m above sea level. Branded as South Spring, the water is packed in 0.33lt, 0.6lt, 1.2lt and two-litre bottles.


"The launch of the plant was delayed by three months because of the political instability in the southern regional state," said Berhanu.

The plant can pack 16,000 bottles of water an hour and plans to increase this to 32,000 bottles an hour after six months. The plant has opened jobs for 310 workers.


The inauguration of the plant is expected to take place today, Sunday, September 15, 2019, and the water will be on the market the next day. South Spring will be the 86th bottler, which supplies just five percent of total consumption in Ethiopia, which has a population above 100 million. This is far below Kenya, which has a population of 51 million and has 600 water bottling companies.

To distribute the product, the company has built three warehouses in Hawassa, Modjo and Addis Abeba, which will also be used as distribution centres.




The management of the company is dealing with B&C Fitting Limited, a Britain-based company, to export its products, according to Biruk Haile, founder of B & C Aluminum Plc, the parent company that was established 16 years ago as a distributor but started to produce aluminium sheets seven years ago at its plant, which rests on 6,000Sqm of land on the outskirts of the capital.

"We'll start exporting in a month," Biruk said.

Johnny Girma, a lecturer at Addis Ababa University's School of Civil Engineering, Water Supply & Environmental Engineering Chair, says it is good that the water is spring water.

Groundwater [spring water] is preferable for human consumption, because it is free from minerals and pure from unwanted micro-organisms, whereas surface water is easily affected by micro-organisms and contains minerals, according to Johnny.


"It is more difficult to purify surface water for human consumption," he said. "When you try to get one ion into the range, there is a chance some unnecessary ions might appear, and that might be a cause for some diseases."

South Spring will also join Fiker Natural Spring Water, which is bottled by OK Bottling & Beverage S.C, and Tena Water, which is packed by Bereket Bottled Drinking Water Plc, which are also sourced from the southern part of the country.



PUBLISHED ON Sep 14,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1011]






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