Italian dispenser machines maker enters Kenyan market

An Italian supplier of liquid dispenser machines has made entry into Kenya’s fast growing beer, soft drink and water market.

Celli S.p.A has contracted local distributor RustHall ltd to sell its dispensing machines. The firm which already holds a global footprint in 86 countries says it settled on Kenya as a strategic location for entry into the region.

“Kenya is the hub of the region. It will be easy for us to enter the East African market from Kenya,” said Vittorio Fontana, sales director at Celli S.p.A. in an interview.

Celli supplies beer, juice, water and wine dispensers.

Kenya’s beverages market was valued at Sh60.4 billion as per the 2013 Economic Survey, which is about six per cent of the country’s manufacturing sector.

Celli’s products are used by global beer and beverage brands such as Coca Cola Atlanta and Europe, Pepsi-Cola, Heineken, Diageo with its draught beer brands, SAB’s, Stella Artois, Budweiser, Beck’s and Carlsberg form Celli’s rich client base.

Celli S.p.A is a decade-old family business established 40 years ago. However, the family sold off its majority shareholding this year to a private equity fund- Consilium SGR. The PE fund controls 70 per cent shareholding.

According to Mauro Gallavotti, the chief executive of Celli, the sale is aimed at providing the group with new lifeblood and resources for supporting growth. Mr Gallavotti takes over from Goffredo Celli, the chairman and founder of the company.

Celli S.p.A makes annual sales of about Sh5 billion (36 million Euros). It has 100 staff in its Italy factory. Most of the production is automated.

Celli is seeking to employ technical and marketing staff to help push its product.  “We have not come up with a definite number (of local employees) yet because it is dependent on many other factors,” said Victoria Osure, Celli S.p.A distributor in the region and managing director RustHall ltd.

She estimates that she will hire 20 technicians and 20 sales persons. Ms Osure will run operations from her office in Karen. This will include sale, servicing and maintenance of the dispensers and repairs.

The company targets beer and beverage manufacturers, hotels and individuals for water dispensers. The home dispensers are designed to dispense both still and sparkling water. A basic dispenser cost $700. The price increases with quality ranging from $2, 000 to $3,000

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