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More cans for a thirsty market

A man holds a can of Cambodia beer in Phnom Penh’s Wat Botom Park yesterday.
A man holds a can of Cambodia beer in Phnom Penh’s Wat Botom Park yesterday. Eliah Lillis

More cans for a thirsty market

Khmer Brewery, the producer of Cambodia beer, inaugurated a beverage can production plant in the capital last week under a joint venture with American metal packaging products company Crown Holdings Inc, a company executive said yesterday.

Peter Leang, president of Khmer Brewery, confirmed a foreign media report that the Phnom Penh plant began operations last week. However, citing a nondisclosure agreement with Crown, he could not provide further details of the location of the plant, its investment capital, production capacity or the joint venture agreement.

According to a report in Asia Food Journal released yesterday, Crown initiated the discussion for a joint venture with Khmer Brewery, citing long-term potential growth in beverage sales.

“We can offer manufacturing expertise and product innovation to Khmer Brewery as they grow their business in the future,” said Timothy Donahue, president and CEO of Crown Holdings, according to the report.

The same report quoted Leang as saying that through the joint venture, Khmer Brewery is now able to get a secure supply of beverage cans with international standards and learn solid management practices.

NYSE-listed Crown Holdings Inc said in its 2015 annual report that its Singapore-based subsidiary, Crown Asia Pacific, had begun construction on its third beverage can plant in Cambodia and was expected to commence operations during the second quarter of this year.

The plant, whose production capacity was not disclosed, will support increasing consumer demand for beer packaged in cans in the market, the report said.

Crown first entered the Kingdom in 2007 with a single line for 330 millilitre two-piece aluminium cans with an annual capacity of 500 million. In 2012, the company announced that it would begin construction on a second factory set to be completed in 2013, with an expected to production capacity of 725 million aluminium cans a year.

Robert Bourque, president of Crown Asia Pacific Holdings, said yesterday that the rising demand was a significant factor in the company’s decision to invest into a third plant.

“Cambodia has a growing demand in beer, energy drinks and RTD [ready to drink] teas segments,” he said. “Due to metal packaging’s benefits such as a strong barrier against light and heat, light-weight as well as being 100-percent recyclable, application of metal packaging into this growing product portfolio in the local market is something to look forward to.”

Independent economist Teng Delux said the expansion of manufacturing would reduce the Kingdom’s dependency on beverage can imports from other countries.

“The demand for cans is increasing because it is a convenient item for consumers,” he said.

“Beverage production in Cambodia will continue to develop with more products besides beer, which will push demand even further.”

An earlier version of this article incorrectly attributed the comments of Robert Bourque, president of Crown Asia Pacific Holdings, to the company's PR representative.

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