Addis Fortune (Addis Ababa)

Ethiopia: Saudi Investor Set to Start Bottling Water

Abu Thiyab Holdings Co, owned by Mohammed Hussein Mohammed Abu Thiyab, a Saudi investor, is to start bottling purified water in September 2011.

The construction of the plant is being finalised on a three-hectare plot in Gelan Town, 35km east of Addis Abeba, with a total investment capital of 35 million Br.

"We initially took the investment licence on May 5, 1998, and obtained the land on May 14 that year, but problems with the contractor and land issues caused delays in starting operations," Ahmed Hassen, general manager of Abu Thiyab, told Fortune. "Once we start operations in September, we plan to produce 4,500 bottles per hour for 24 hours in three shifts. This will allow us to produce 27 million bottles annually."

The factory plans to start operations with only 50 full-time employees.

It has spent 22 million Br on imported machinery and nine million Birr on civil construction works, Hassen claimed.

Once the plant becomes operational, it plans to manufacture 1.5-litre, 2.5-litre, and 25-litre plastic bottles of purified water sourced from underground around the factory's site. Simultaneously, the company, which was established in Saudi Arabia 40 years ago, would manufacture the plastic bottles.

"We plan to initially produce the water for local consumption, but eventually export it to neighbouring countries and Gulf States," Hassen told Fortune.

The company plans to open a juice production facility inside the plant in the near future, the general manager claimed.

The plant is Abu Thiyab Holdings' first investment outside of Saudi.

Prism Spring Water Development is one of the 11 companies engaged in bottling purified water in Ethiopia.

Debre Berhan Natural Water bottles Aqua Safe, Great Abyssinia bottles Abyssinia, Pacific Industrial bottles Oasis, Burayu Spring bottles Burayu, Alemayehu Natural Water bottles Yes, Electro Commercial bottles Origin, TGMD bottles Real, Cool Moha Soft Drinks Manufacturing bottles Cool, Seka Business Group bottles May Lomi, and Arcad bottles Nile.

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