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Simonds Farsons Cisk unveils Lm14 million investment 3/3/2005

Three projects: New Brewhouse, New Soft Drinks Packaging Hall and New Distribution Centre

Simonds Farsons Cisk plc today (3 March 2005) unveiled a major investment in three capital projects. Farsons Group Chief Executive, Mr Louis A Farrugia, announced that the new investment, including the construction of a New Packaging Hall for Soft Drinks, a New Distribution Centre and a New Brewhouse, and valued at more than Lm14 million, will be completed by the end of 2010. 

The announcement was made during a press conference held at the Farsons Brewery in Mriehel, and in the presence of the Prime Minister Dr Lawrence Gonzi, the Minister for Investment, Industry and Information Technology Dr Austin Gatt, and Farsons Chairman, Mr Bryan A Gera and senior company officials.

“The aim of this investment is to improve efficiency, to continue improving the quality of our product, and in order to prepare for the complete liberalisation of the soft drinks market in 2008. Farsons has always been committed to ensuring that it is equipped with the most modern plant in order for it to be able to offer the best quality products efficiently,” said Mr Farrugia. “The Company has also always striven to ensure that it has professional management and well trained staff.”

This has helped the Company in the last seventy six years of its history not only to manage to overcome the challenges it faced, which were many, but also to ensure that its products remained among the most popular choices for consumers.

“The products of the Company are 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 top 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.

Construction works have already started on the new Lm5.6 million Soft drinks Packaging Hall. This will be completed by 2007. Work on the new Distribution Centre will begin shortly and this centre is also expected to be completed by 2007. The work on the new Brewhouse is expected to begin in 2009 and will be completed the following year. 

The Company will be building these projects on its own land. This land has been acquired by Farsons over the years because the Company always knew that the day would come when its facilities were not going to be enough to meet the new requirements of the market. At the same time it is going to release other property that it is currently using in its operations, in order to part finance these projects. 

The three projects are being implemented by a Project Team consisting of members of the Company’s Management Team and assisted by consultants who are all Maltese.

Farsons is now a diversified Group with a turnover nearing Lm27 million. Fifty-six per cent (56%) of its turnover results from manufacturing, that is from the sale of beers, soft drinks, water and juices produced here in Malta. The other part of the turnover is generated from other activities of the Group. These include the sale of wines, spirits, beers and food that are imported by its subsidiary companies.

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.

These three projects entail a significant investment in new technology that demands new skills from Farsons employees. Farsons has always provided continuous training so that employees become more familiar with any new technology that is introduced. The same will happen with these new projects.

At the same time, during the next four years some 85 employees will reach retirement age. As a result, the Company will further restructure its operations to meet the new requirements demanded by these projects. Farsons will be embarking on the necessary training programme in collaboration with the Unions who represent its employees.

“We are confident that all our stakeholders: management, employees, unions, shareholders, consumers and even Government understand that these projects will strengthen the Company’s position. These projects will further enable us to meet the challenges of a completely liberalised market. They will also serve to help the Company’s endeavours in further substituting importation for the benefit of our shareholders and employees, and finally the Maltese economy itself. Through this investment, the quality of our products will continue to improve and therefore we shall be able to compete with high quality products from other European countries,” said Farsons Group Chief Executive.

“This strategy will further assist the Company in its continued efforts to establish products such as Kinnie and Cisk in foreign markets. “What we are announcing today is evidence of our determination to keep our leading position in the market despite the new challenges that continuously face us,” explained Mr Farrugia.