Pictured above: Farsons Group Chairman Mr Louis A Farrugia, Prime Minister Dr Joseph Muscat and Farsons Group CEO Mr Norman Aquilina
The Chairman of Simonds Farsons Cisk plc Mr Louis A Farrugia today announced that Farsons will invest €27 million in a Beer Packaging facility. The announcement was made during a press conference held in the Old Boardroom of the Mriehel Brewery in the presence of the Prime Minister, Dr Joseph Muscat, the Parliamentary Secretary for Planning and Simplification of Administrative Processes, Dr Michael Farrugia, and the Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth, Dr Edward Zammit Lewis.
Details of the investment were given by both the Farsons Chairman, Mr Louis A Farrugia, and by CEO, Mr Norman Aquilina.
The purpose of this significant investment is twofold:
a) To ensure that Farsons beer packaging facilities remain competitive in today’s market place by servicing the important local market with packages that are relevant to contemporary consumer preferences.
b) To meet the Group’s objectives of increasing its exports of beer and non-alcoholic products to nearby markets.
In his opening address, Mr Louis Farrugia stated “Farsons has ambitions to become a niche regional player in the beverage market and aims to treble its exports within the next five years.
Exports currently represent 6% by volume of Farsons’ total production and we aim to increase the share of our total production to 17% by 2020.
During the past 6 years, Farsons has invested no less than €50 million in a new PET packaging facility, a Logistics Centre and a new Brewhouse.
“We have been totally committed to investing in new facilities to ensure that we remain competitive and so grow our businesses in our own and other markets. Through these investments Farsons has shown its determination to grow and remain a leading and relevant Maltese business” added Mr Louis Farrugia.
On completion of this new investment, Farsons would have invested no less than €80,000,000 in its beverage business alone in the space of 8 years, averaging €10,000,000 a year over the period.
Farsons is a totally owned Maltese Group led by Maltese management selling Maltese brands in Malta and other markets.
Mr Norman Aquilina, Farsons CEO, announced that work on this project will commence in April 2014 and completed in April 2016. The new facility will have a glass line and a canning line: the latter having a capacity to fill beer and non-alcoholic beverages at the rate of three times the current capability. The new lines will bring about improved quality and productivity along with increased efficiency through automation, lower energy consumption and water reduction.
The proposed building housing these lines will also bring about centralisation of all raw and packaging material storage. There are significant benefits in doing this in terms of reduction of handling costs as well as improvements in storage conditions and computerisation of inventory control. This project entails a significant investment in new technology and Farsons will be investing in the retraining and upskilling of its workforce to maximize its potential productive output.
It is envisaged there will be no less than 100 construction workers on site by early summer and more workers in the first quarter of next year when other trades will be engaged.
“This bold investment is critical to Farsons’ vision and export led strategy as it will primarily provide the company with the right cost structures to operate and compete more effectively and efficiently on both the local and international market,” explained Mr Aquilina.
Since 2006, Farsons experienced double digit growth in its exports, with 2013 being one of their best years as the company exported more than 370 x 20ft containers of beers and soft drinks to Europe, North Africa and Asia – more than one container a day. In 2013, Farsons continued to increase its exports to Italy, its primary overseas beer market, with brands including Cisk Export, Cisk XS, Farsons Strong Ale and others.
Main markets for Kinnie include Libya, the Netherlands and Russia and in the coming days Farsons will be shipping its first containers with Kinnie to the CzechRepublic and Poland. Kinnie is also produced under licence in Australia with 2013 being a record year both in terms of volume and royalty income.
“Through this investment, we will be rendering our business more competitive, expanding our current export base by enabling us to establish a position in select markets with high quality, innovative and premium brands. These factors will ensure that the existing Farsons Group workforce of over 800 employees remain in secure and rewarding jobs,” added Mr Aquilina.