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Heart of the PET line for Big Bottling Company is the InnoPET BloFill stretch blow molder/filler block from KHS that forms and fills PET bottles. (Photo credit: KHS)

Growth

Nigerian "Big Bottling Company" invests in PET line from KHS

Dortmund, Germany

A young company in Nigeria with plans for growth has opted for KHS for its new PET line. The Dortmund systems supplier has proved especially convincing with its local team that installed the system with practically no outside help.

With over 200 million inhabitants Nigeria is already by far the most heavily populated country in Africa. In the next 30 years the United Nations reckon on this number doubling, meaning that by 2050 around 410 million people will live here. After India and China, the country of Nigeria will then have the world’s third-largest population. The supply of drinking water is inadequate: until a few years ago only one in two people had access to clean water. The country’s infrastructure is also still in its infancy, so that Nigerians are continuing to have to resort to buying water in bottles – about 45 billion liters of it in 2019.

Huge potential for growth

In contrast, with a volume of approximately two billion liters the carbonated soft drinks segment is modest compared to the rest of the world. Accordingly, there’s huge potential for growth on a hotly contested market that primarily targets the as yet small but rapidly increasing middle class. This market is dominated by multinational companies. Alongside a number of medium-sized providers with three or four filling lines there are a vast number of small companies that are growing fast.

To date Big Bottling Company (BBC) Nigeria Limited, that started up in 2015 as a Nigerian subsidiary of the AJE Group from Peru, has been a fairly minor player. The AJE family business, founded over 28 years ago, is today one of the biggest international beverage groups worldwide with production sites in more than 28 countries. In terms of sales volume, internationally AJE is the fourth-largest producer of non-alcoholic beverages. BBC’s bottling plant is in Agbara on the edge of Lagos, the most densely populated city in both Nigeria and the whole of Africa. The products made by BBC include the extremely popular BIG Cola, BIG Orange, BIG Lemon & Lime and BIG Water.

Thanks to a clever strategy the company’s market entry a few years back proved a great success: instead of in the standard 500-milliliter bottle common to its competitors BBC launched its products in a 650-milliliter receptacle – for the same price. With this smart move the startup was able to score with its decidedly cost-conscious consumers and secure itself a respectable share of the market from day one. This element of surprise was also to BBC’s advantage, for it took a while for its competitors to follow suit.

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