P RINCE Norodom Ranarridh formally signed the government's $50 million contract with Asia Pacific Breweries (APB), the Singaporean makers of Tiger beer, on Oct 26 and declared: "This is the first great investment in Cambodia".
APB's contract to build a brewery in Takhmao, Kandal province will create jobs indirectly for about 1,000 people, he said.
The Co-Prime Minister, at the signing ceremony at the Cambodiana Hotel, said many other investments had been processed by the Council for the Development of Cambodia since the investment law was passed in August.
"We have accepted projects of not less that $500 million," he said.
As well as an international airport, projects included tourism related industries and agricultural and light industry deals ranging from rubber to timber.
Many are short-term plans of two to three years, he said.
"This means more and more employment for the people," he said.
A further 50 companies have expressed interest since the launch of an advertising campaign by McCann Erickson.
APB's investment will be in two phases. Construction of the first phase will take 18 months.
King Norodom Sihanouk, in a letter from Beijing, has objected to APB's claims that it was constructing the first international standard brewery in Cambodia.
"Cambodia under the Sangkum Reastr Niyum controlled a large brewery in Sihanoukville between 1968-69 with ultra-modern equipment," wrote the King, adding that it was of an international class.
Brett Sciaroni, attorney for Cambodian distributor Progress Import Export Company, said the incident was a misunderstanding.
Early breweries were of a higher standard than contemporary ones, remarked an observer at the ceremony.
"In England, for instance, there is the Campaign for Real Ale," he said. "It promotes the old-fashioned method of brewing beer which is considered far superior to the modern one."
At the new plant APB will be brewing ABC Stout, which is estimated to have 83 percent of the stout market as well as Tiger, which is estimated to have 80 percent of the Khmer lager market.