May 24, 2011

Brewery eyes October launch


THE US$60 million Khmer Brewery plant was slated to launch by the beginning of the third quarter, aiming to produce an internationally-competitive beer in the Kingdom, insiders said yesterday.

The plant, a joint venture between Cambodia’s Chip Mong Group and Ziemann Group of Germany, will create about 700 jobs and produce from 1 to 2 million hectolitres of beer annually.

“We’ve already completed 80 percent of the plant, and production will start as soon as September and October of this year,” said Chip Mong Group President Leang Khun.

Construction on the plant, which is located in Choueng Ek commune on the outskirts of Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, began early last year. While there hadn’t been outright delays, Leang Khun did admit that progress on the building had been slow.

In January, company officials had said they aimed at a May launch date.

Chip Mong Group inked the agreement in December 2009, hoping to establish a brewery that produced a world-class beer in Cambodia, he said.

According to the joint-venture agreement, Chip Mong Group would invest $60 million in capital and Ziemann Group would be responsible for operations at the brewery, which will be called Khmer Brewery.

“We hope the venture will lead Cambodia to produce a quality product in order to compete in both local and international markets,” Leang Khun said.

Meng Saktheara, General Director of Industry’s of the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy, said the technology brought to Cambodia by Ziemann Group would help the country become more self-sufficient in producing domestic beer.

“It’s very good to produce [beer] here. It can help reduce imports of the beverage from abroad, create more jobs for local people and also enable Cambodia to have a quality beverage to compete in international markets,” he said yesterday.

“It’s also good for the Cambodian economy because we can collect taxes from the company,” he added.

Breweries have increasingly turned to Southeast Asia, including to Cambodia.

Leopard Capital majority-owned Kingdom Breweries launched its Phnom Penh brewery in October of last year.

Asia Pacific Breweries, the company behind Anchor and Tiger beers, said in a May 16 statement the Indochina region of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam account for 48 percent of the Singapore-based brewery’s profits before interest and taxes in the last full financial year.

APB is 80 percent owner of Kandal province’s Cambodia Brewery Limited.

In the release, APB announced it would increase the production of its 60 percent owned brewery in Ho Chi Minh City from 2.80 million hectolitres to 4.20 million hectolitres annually, slated to cost S$90 million (US$72 million).

Meanwhile, Danish brewer Carlsberg A/S owns 50 percent of Cambrew Ltd, which has an annual production capacity of 850,000 hectolitres, according to its website. The Preah Sihanouk province brewery produces Angkor beer along with other brands.

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