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Firefighters battle a blaze at an under construction Yeo’s beverage factory at Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone on Monday. Photo supplied
Firefighters battle a blaze at an under construction Yeo’s beverage factory at Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone on Monday. Photo supplied

Fire damages Yeo’s factory, but not sales

A fire that ripped through a Yeo’s beverage factory under construction in an industrial park on the outskirts of the capital on Monday caused damage to about a third of the structure, but would not impact the company’s local sales as production had yet to start up, sources said yesterday.

“We are selling our product as normal and the fire will not impact our market here because our production line is in Singapore,” said You Kimseng, sales manager of YHS (Cambodia) Food & Beverage Pte Ltd.

He declined to estimate the extent of the damage or whether it would delay the factory’s scheduled November 2016 opening.

YHS (Cambodia), a wholly owned subsidiary of Singaporean beverage giant Yeo Hiap Seng Ltd, is building its first Cambodian beverage plant on a 9.3-hectare plot it purchased in March 2014 in Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone.

The company has invested at least $7 million into the 40,000-square-metre production facility, according to its 2015 annual report.

Yeo Hiap Seng is best known for its Yeo’s brand line of Asian beverages, which include lychee, soya bean, winter melon and grass jelly drinks.

A municipal fire department official said preliminary investigations into the cause of Monday’s fire pointed to a spark from a welder’s torch falling into a pile of construction waste. Nobody was injured in the blaze.

“Between 30 and 40 per cent of the building was damaged in the fire, according to our initial estimate,” said Prom Yorn, director of the municipal fire department.

“The machinery was not damaged, but the building’s electrical wiring will need to be re-installed and it will need to be repainted.”

Yorn said he was unable to assess whether the factory owner would be able to complete the repairs in time for the scheduled opening.

“It depends on their negotiations with the contractor,” he said.

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