US chewing gum manufacturer Wrigley to boost Africa business with $63m factory

Wrigley — manufacturer of Big G, PK, Doublemint, Juicy Fruit, and Orbit — said the new plant would help satisfy growing demand in the East African region that the Nairobi-based factory has been serving since 1972.

“We have had a vibrant business in East Africa and this factory is expected to meet the production demands that can satisfy the market. It also demonstrates our long-term commitment to driving sustainable growth here in East Africa, as well as in South Africa and in our newly launched business in West Africa,” Wrigley’s global president Martin Radvan said during the ground breaking ceremony yesterday.

Currently, Kenya hosts the company’s only manufacturing plant in Africa, from which it serves a growing market that includes Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia and South Sudan.

Pave the way

The Kenya-based factory sits on a 20-acre plot on the Nairobi-Machakos road. Construction of the buildings is expected be completed by year end to pave way for machine installations, with manufacturing operations projected to start in early 2017.

Officiating the ground breaking, Industrialisation and Enterprise Development, Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed said the government was focused on boosting the manufacturing sector to diversify exports and create jobs.

“Although we have not been competitive enough to attract investors, the government is now investing in a number of reforms to improve the local investment, including the reduction of regulatory hurdles to starting a business,” said Mr Mohamed.

The move by Wrigley comes at a time when its main competitor in manufacturing confectioners, Cadbury Kenya, closed down its manufacturing plant in Nairobi late last year to start importing products from Egypt.

The company had been in the country for six decades and its top brands are Trident chewing gum, Cocoa, Cadbury Drinking Chocolate and Oreo biscuits.