Competition in the soft drinks industry is poised to go up a notch higher after global giant PepsiCo started hiring of distributors to supply its products across the country.
The company, which started production at its Sh2.4 billion Ruaraka plant on December 28, is looking for distributors in Nairobi, Nakuru, Naivasha and Machakos.
The firm is also looking to hire agents from Gilgil, Narok and Kithimani in what will raise the competition bar for Coca- Cola, which has dominated the Kenyan market for decades.
The distributors will be charged with supplying products like Pepsi Light, Mirinda, Mountain Dew, 7UP and Everess in what will see PepsiCo complete its re-entry into the country after exiting in the 1970s.
“Seven-Up Bottling Company Kenya – PepsiCo’s agent – has commissioned its new $30 million bottling plant in Ruaraka, Nairobi and has openings for professional distribution partners...,” a notice by SBC Kenya’s general sales and marketing manager reads in part.
Since 2010, PepsiCo has been importing these products through its agent Seven-Up Bottling Company Kenya (SBC Kenya).
With the commissioning of their plant and the start of production the firm has had to setup their processes from scratch with the hiring of new employees and business partners.
Interested distributors are required to have a minimum of three years experience in the business, have an existing clientele, and have the ability to raise Sh2 million of working capital.
They are also required to have a warehouse covering at least 300 square meters and have access to sufficient distribution vehicles and a competent distribution workforce.
“(The distributor is required to have) strong entrepreneurial spirit, hands on management approach, passion for performance and growth, customer focus and consumer driven,” the notice continues to state.
In July last year, the US multinational sought to fill 29 personnel positions including area sales managers, a human resource manager, public relations officers, and senior accountants amongst others ahead of plant’s commissioning.
PepsiCo is seeking to capture growing a demand for soft drinks in the Kenyan economy, which has grown steadily over the last decade increasing consumers’ disposable incomes.
This growth has buoyed the sector, making producers to raise production to 472,005 tonnes per year in 2011 down from 230,750 tonnes in 2006, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) data shows.
The move is expected to eat into the market share of Coca-Cola that has enjoyed minimal competition enabling it to firm its grip on the region for decades.