Juniper Glass today announced that it has received all regulatory approvals necessary to conclude the final investments in its US$70 million greenfield container glass factory in Debre Birhan, Ethiopia.
Juniper is working closely with leading global glass engineers and equipment suppliers to build a state-of-the-art factory, which will use the latest available technology in glass manufacturing. The new factory, which is under construction, will have the capacity to produce 60,000 tonnes of glass annually, approximately 200 million glass bottles. Juniper has agreed with most major bottlers in Ethiopia to allocate the majority of this capacity to replace imports. In addition, Juniper has also evaluated opportunities with international customers to export bottles into neighbouring countries. Juniper Glass is expected to be operational within 18 months and, with a strong consortium of partners and full funding in place, the project design has firmly positioned Juniper for growth, with designs allowing for further expansion on relative short notice in future.
The consortium behind Juniper includes Consol Glass, the largest glass packaging company in Sub-Saharan Africa, with manufacturing facilities in South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya. Consol Glass is a recognised leader in glass packaging manufacturing and with their expertise and support Juniper will be able to supply container glass to highest quality standards.
“Ethiopia provides a dynamic environment for Africa’s industrial growth,” said CEO of Consol Glass, Mike Arnold, “and the Ethiopian market is gaining momentum. We have been evaluating opportunities in Ethiopia for a number of years and are excited about our partnership with Juniper and Roha”, the Africa-focussed greenfield investment company.
Commenting on the deal, CEO of Juniper, Brooks Washington, said, “Our partnership with Consol, together with the support from the Development Bank of Ethiopia, will help us to realise our mission and meet the growing demand for high-quality glass bottles. Perhaps more significantly, it will contribute to Ethiopia’s economic development by innovating, building human capacity and leveraging technology.”,
Earlier, the Development Bank of Ethiopia announced it had approved a loan of ETB 565 million (approximately US$25 million) for the project, which was developed by Roha. With final investment approval from Ethiopia’s Trade Competition and Consumer Protection Agency, Juniper is fully-funded and will start operating as soon as the factory is completed.
“We are grateful for the support of the various government entities who have played a role in getting us to where we are, including the Debre Birhan Municipality, Amhara National Regional State, and Federal agencies,” Washington added.
International agencies are describing Ethiopia as a high-potential consumer market, with an expanding middle class and rapid urbanisation. As Africa’s second most populated country with more than 90 million people, the beverage industry is poised to become a thriving sector of the economy. Juniper Glass will be positioned to supply Ethiopian customers, export to regional markets and continue to expand as demand increases.
A business strongly focused on social impact, Juniper Glass will contribute significantly to the development of the Debre Birhan community. There are plans to partner with higher education institutions in the area to design courses for students who are interested in careers within Juniper Glass and other industries. Various community projects, including in health and education, will also receive support.
“Developing a new business sector, manufacturing a great product and meeting consumer demand will have positive implications on return on investment,” explained Washington. “More than that, the impact on human lives and on the economy is what’s truly exciting. This includes job creation, poverty reduction and the development of skills that will directly impact Ethiopia’s growth story.”