East African Breweries Limited (EABL) has moved fast to notify its shareholders of its decision to establish a Sh15 billion plant in Kisumu.
In a cautionary statement, the EABL board disclosed that the planned investment is likely to spread over a period of two years.
“The Board of Directors of EABL approved an investment in a new brewery in Kisumu, Kenya at a cost of Sh15 billion on 23rd June,’’ said the statement.
The announcement came a day after President Uhuru Kenyatta said at State House, Nairobi, that the brewer would set up a factory in the lakeside city.
It followed a fresh commitment made by Ivan Menezes, chief executive of Diageo, which owns EABL – to open a new brewery.
But the board said modalities of funding for the project are still under deliberation and will be communicated to the shareholders and regulators in due course.
“The shareholders of EABL and the public are advised to exercise caution when dealing with shares of the company,’’ said the board.
The caution was issued in accordance with Capital Markets Authority regulations on listed companies.
EABL’s announcement dispelled fears among some Nyanza leaders that the new brewery could be a political gimmick.
During Uhuru’s announcement, Diageo Africa President John O’Keeffe, EABL Group Managing Director Andrew Cowan and Kenya Breweries MD Jane Karuku were present.
Kisumu Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o, Kisumu West MP Olago Aluoch and Nyando MP Fred Outa had expressed reservations about the plant.
But the assurance by EABL has made the county leaders change their tone and are now asking the investors to move with speed and start work.
“We want to see a clearly outlined business plan, costs involved, jobs to be created and sources of raw material for the plant’s sustainability,” said Prof Nyong’o.
Governor Jack Ranguma hailed the project saying it would create employment opportunities and spur the region’s economic growth.
Last month, the governor said the county government was planning to repossess the parcel of land on which the old brewery is.