Thursday, March 13, 2014

Coming Soon to Ethiopia: Heineken and KFC?

(Mar 13, 2014, (Mashable))--Ethiopia is a largely agricultural nation of 94 million people that endures frequent droughts and famine, with a per capita income of just over $100 per month. Is it ready for Heineken beer and KFC chicken outlets? The companies behind these global brands think it may be. Amsterdam-based Heineken is scheduled to open a $127 million brewery in mid-2014 on the outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa.

Unilever, the British-Dutch consumer-products giant, announced plans this month to open a factory near Addis Ababa that's expected to produce detergents such as Omo. Louisville-based Yum! Brands Inc., which owns KFC, is also considering a move into Ethiopia.

As Africa's second-most populous country behind Nigeria, "Ethiopia is the one that stands out," Bruce Layzell, Yum!'s general manager of new African markets, told Bloomberg News. "We don't want to go to a country where we can only build four or five restaurants," he said. "We want to go in and build 50, 100. Our business is the scale game." Besides the size of its population, what attracts multinational consumer groups to Ethiopia is robust economic growth, averaging 9.3% over the past four years, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Unilever says it's trying to emulate its success in Vietnam, where over the past 20 years it has invested some $300 million and enjoyed average annual sales growth of more than 10% from brands including Lipton tea and Dove soap. As in Vietnam, "we've taken a longterm investment decision in Ethiopia," Dougie Brew, Unilever's head of corporate affairs for Africa, told Bloomberg. Unilever plans to develop a "comprehensive consumer-goods manufacturing business," he said, as well as a network of Ethiopian suppliers and distributors.  Read more from Mashable »

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