Cadbury retains Nairobi as hub for East Africa businessSunday October 09 2011
Cadbury’s Kenya, recently bought out by US-based Kraft Foods, will retain Nairobi as its hub for manufacture and distribution of food beverages targeted at the lucrative east African market.
Country director, Marion Gathoga, said its factory in Nairobi is currently undergoing a major upgrade that included the establishment of automated production lines of dry power and food drink products as well as an ultra modern distribution centre.
“The investment will position Kenya as a focused manufacturer of food beverages supplying the broader East Africa market,” she said on Friday without revealing the budget for the upgrade.
Prior to the acquisition of Cadburys by Kraft Foods, word had been rife that it would be relocating to other markets that offered friendlier operating environment such as affordable energy.
The fears of possible relocation were further heightened by a decision by Kraft Foods to cull non-profitable Cadbury operations globally as part of a strategy on cost-cutting and stirring efficiency.
Ms Gathoga however said the company would retain Kenyan as its gateway to the region where ongoing integration initiatives have opened bigger markets.
“Kenya is a key market in our business unit and has been consistently growing in volume over the last two years,” she said.
As part of operational restructures the company last year dropped the manufacture chocolate in Kenya and instead moved production to South Africa. Consumers of the company’s chocolate products in Kenya now depend on shipments either from South Africa or Egypt.
“We are reviewing our category based strategy to include some of our Kraft products aligned to consumer needs,” the official said.
Ms Gathoga said an initial group of 23 workers had been laid off from the factory in Nairobi as part of the organisation reforms.
“We will be introducing new skills in the business through internal training and recruitment to achieve a high performance organisation,” she said.
Cadburys Kenya has 300 employees, nearly half of them casuals. The chocolate line had two shifts of 50 casuals each, putting their number at 100.
The American food giant in 2010 paid $19 billion to acquire its British rival Cadburys and announced that it would cut 10,000 jobs worldwide to slash costs and improve cash flow.
At the time of acquisition Cadbury currently employs about 45,000 people worldwide.
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