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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia Brewery Ltd sales down 10pc in '09

Cambodia Brewery Ltd sales down 10pc in '09

Crisis hit spending on beer last year, Anchor brewer reports

SALES at Cambodia Brewery Ltd – maker of Anchor, Gold Crown, Tiger beer and ABC stout – declined by an annualised 10 percent in 2009, its general manager said Friday.

Koh Tai Hong of Cambodia Brewery Ltd (CBL) said the drop was caused by the impact of the global economic crisis affecting income and therefore beer demand.

“When the economic crisis occurred, we saw beer sales going down — I think no more than 10 percent. But we didn’t stop our production. We are still producing 9 million cases of beer per annum,” he said.

Although Koh Tai Hong declined to release sales figures or profit for last year, citing commercial confidentiality, he added: “Of course, the profit also fell a little bit during last year. But, you know, business is like that. One year it goes up and one year it goes down. That’s normal, and we are here for the long term, as we have invested a lot of money here."

CBL is a joint-venture between Asia Pacific, a specialist brewery from Singapore, and Progress Import-Export, a Cambodian company which works in banking and trading.

CBL employs 2,000 workers in Cambodia, many who work at its centre in Prek Eng commune, Kien Svay district, Kandal province.

Chhim Sopheap, production manager of CBL, added that the company imports about 12,000 tonnes of wheat from France, Australia, Belgium, England and Germany for production.

Koh Tai Hong added that the high season for beer sales lasts during summer months, from October until April. National and public holidays are also key times.

“They are the most important,” said Koh Tai Hong, adding that during Chinese New Year he can sell more than two and a half times as much beer as on a normal day.

During Khmer New Year the firm sees twice the demand compared to a day during the rainy season.

He added that although demand for beer has risen in the Kingdom over the last few years, it is still low compared to that of other countries.

“Consumption per capita is lower than in Vietnam and Singapore,” he said.

Cambodia during the last year has seen investment in the brewing sector.

Kingdom Breweries is launching in Phnom Penh later this year while the Chip Mong Group has linked up with Germany’s Ziemann Group to establish a US$60 million joint-venture brewery.

But Koh Tai Hong, who said he believes 2010 will see improved sales, is not concerned about the increased competition.

“I don’t want to talk about fighting or competition. The point is to produce the best quality beer; and then let the customer decide," he said.

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