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FARSONS UNVEILS PLANS ABOUT NEW BREWHOUSE PROJECT COSTING €14 MILLION - TO BE COMPLETED BY 2013 25/02/2010

Farsons Group Chief Executive, Mr Louis A Farrugia, today gave further details of an investment of €14 million in a new Brewhouse, a quality control laboratory and a water treatment plant which will be completed by 2013. This is the third and final phase of a total of €40 million investment in a New Soft Drinks Plant, a new Logistic Centre and now a new Brewhouse and water treatment plant. The first two projects commenced in 2005.

Details were given during a press conference held at the Farsons Brewery in Mriehel, in the presence of the Minister of Finance, the Economy and Investment Mr Tonio Fenech, Farsons Chairman Mr Bryan A Gera, Chief Executive Officer Designate Mr Norman Aquilina, Chief Projects Officer Mr Paul Micallef, and Malta Enterprise Chairman Mr Alan Camilleri.

“The Company has been utilizing the new Softdrinks Packaging Centre and new Logistics Centre since 2007. The objective of these investments has been to increase production efficiencies and continue to improve the quality of our products and services. Farsons has always been committed to ensuring that it is equipped with the most modern plant” said Mr Farrugia. “At the same time, the Company has also always striven to ensure that it has professional management and well trained staff.”

In the last eighty years, the Company has succeeded in overcoming the challenges it has faced, which were many, by also ensuring that its products remained among the most popular choices for consumers. This has been essential ever since the Company has been competing in a fully liberalised market.

“For a number of decades now, the products of the Company have been constantly regarded as among the best Maltese products. This is not only due to the fact that the Company always focused on quality but also on making sure that its prices are competitive. Not only consumers, but also small investors showed their trust in the Company whenever we offered shares or bonds to the public. This fills us with courage and, while we understand that this places upon us a great responsibility, it also helps us to continue working hard to advance our industry even further,” said Mr Farrugia.

Minister of Finance, the Economy and Investment Tonio Fenech congratulated Farsons on the announcement of this important investment which once again see the company modernizing itself and updating its facilities and technology to keep abreast of innovation and effectiveness. This will ensure that Farsons will be able to continue to deliver a better product and service to its customers.

Minister Fenech welcomed this investment, particularly in turbulent economic times, as a proof of confidence in the Maltese economy and remarked that Farsons’ new investment is not taking place in isolotation but is following up a string of new investments announced in various spheres of the economy over the past few weeks.

He stressed that “confidence consists of a positive outlook for foreseeable outcomes. In an economic environment, it influences the willingness to invest, which in turn structure the ability to perform. Every job protected or created, every opportunity produced, foreign or local investment means a vote of confidence in the ability of every individual and this confidence generates more confidence and more opportunities. These achievements are indicative of our way towards full recovery.”

The Brewhouse

Referring to the new Brewhouse, Mr Farrugia said that it will be an efficient, fully automated and versatile brewing plant, leading to improved product consistency, decreased production costs, and sufficient capacity for the foreseeable future.

In terms of respect of the environment, the new Brewhouse will continue on the tradition established way back in the late 1980s with the launching of the environment-friendly and award winning Process Block.

Energy saving lighting systems, building management systems, thermal insulation, a passive ventilation system, and solar water heating will be built into the Brewhouse.

Energy recovery systems, such as recuperating as much waste heat from the brewing process as possible, have been incorporated in its design. One result is that the new Brewhouse will use half the steam required as compared to the old Brewhouse.

The project also includes a new quality control laboratory, offices and a water treatment building and plant.  The commissioning of the Brewhouse is planned for 2012 while the water treatment plant will be operational the following year.

Construction works are expected to start in July 2010. Like the previous two projects, the current Brewhouse project will be implemented by a Project Team consisting of members of the Company’s Management Team headed by Farsons’ Chief Projects Officer Mr Paul Micallef, and assisted by consultants. Architecture Project (AP) prepared the final architectural plans and layouts for the Brewhouse building.

On completion of the Brewhouse, the original Brewery building will be freed up, and Farsons are planning to make good use of it. The decision on how best to utilise the released property along Notabile Road in Mriehel will be taken following a thorough examination and professional assessment of all options.

The Process Block, the Softdrinks Packaging Centre and the Logistics Centre together with the new Brewhouse entail a significant investment in new technology that are resulting in better process control than can be ever done manually and demand new skills from Farsons employees. Farsons has always provided continuous training so that employees become more familiar with any new technology.

“The decision to invest heavily in the latest and most efficient infrastructure and plant facilities together with the on-going measures that the Board agrees upon to control costs remain the key to Farsons’ strategy to grow its business,” said Mr Farrugia.

Farsons is a diversified Group with its turnover resulting partly from manufacturing that is from the sale of beers, soft drinks and water produced here in Malta, and from other activities of the Group. The latter include the importation, wholesale and retail of food and beverages, including beers, wines and spirits, the operations of franchised food retailing establishments and property management.

This balance, backed by other resources such as strong marketing and distribution, robust IT operations and recognisable high quality products, enables Farsons to be present in every sector of the market.

“We thank all our stakeholders: management, employees, unions, shareholders, consumers for their support for these projects that are significantly strengthening the Company’s position in a completely liberalised market. Through this investment, the quality of our products continued to improve and therefore today we are able to compete with high quality products from other European countries,” said Farsons Group Chief Executive.