Schweppes warns of beverage shortages, hikes prices

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HARARE – Beverages manufacturer, Schweppes Zimbabwe Limited said on Saturday it is battling a foreign  currency supply gap of around $1.5 million monthly required to import  its input needs, which had led to supply gaps of its products.

The manufacturer, renowned for its products such as the Mazoe range of  and Minute Maid juices, warned of supply gaps until the  foreign currency situation stabilised.

It also announced an increase in the price of Mazoe products from $3.20 to $4 per two litre unit.

Schweppes’ Mazoe brand is considered a flag bearer for Zimbabwe and  the company earlier this year felt market anger after it changed the  cordials recipe without consulting the market, forcing the firm to  apologise and revert to the “original” product.

The company said it was only exporting five percent of its monthly  production, earning around $750 000 against a monthly requirement of $2.5 million for its import needs.

“Directly and indirectly imported raw materials (packaging and  concentrates) constitute an average of 40 percent of final product  cost for our range of beverages,” Schweppes said in a market update.

Forex allocations received from its bankers this year, the beverages  manufacturer said, were inadequate to meet its needs.

“Owing to the foreign exchange constraints, we anticipate continued  gaps in production, supply and availability of our products in the  market and we ask consumers to bear with us as we work with our  banking partners and local and external raw materials suppliers to  normalise supplies,” Schweppes said.

Zimbabwe has in the past few years been facing forex shortages as  imports continue to outrun exports.

Schweppes said the increase in product price had been necessitated by  a hike in the price of sugar, a key input in the production process.

Panic buying of products that happened last month had compounded the  situation as it had severely depleted its raw materials and finished  goods inventories. – New Ziana

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