Mars Wrigley, a United States-based confectionery manufacturer, has reaffirmed its commitment to investing in Kenya as the group marks 50 years of operations in the East African country.
This week, the company officially opened a new $69 million factory in Athi River, an area south-east of Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city. The new facility will manufacture chewing gum and sugar confectionery brands, including Skittles, for its core African markets.
The plant will also produce locally-popular brands, including big G, PK, Doublemint and Juicy Fruit. The facility is expected to create employment opportunities both directly at the factory and indirectly through its value chain, while also boosting the country’s exports.
Commenting on the initiative, Mars Wrigley Confectionery General Manager for the Middle East and Africa, Duncan McCulloch said he was delighted to have officially launched the firm’s new sustainably-built chewing gum factory in Athi River.
The facility is located on 20 acres of land.
Mcculloh touted Kenya as a strategic investment destination thanks in part to its rapidly expanding middle class and young population. He said these are some of the factors that have been contributing to their products are becoming more integrated into people’s lifestyle.
Commenting on the launch, Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua urged Kenya’s government to amplify its efforts in attracting investors to Kenya.
Mars Wrigley is part of the larger Mars group, an American global manufacturer of confectionery, pet food, and other food products and a provider of animal care services, with $33 billion in annual sales in 2015.It was ranked as the 6th largest privately-held company in the United States by Forbes.
The commpany’s Mars Wrigley subsidiary has a relatively strong presence in Kenya and the new factory cements its commitment to investing further in the country.
“This marks a major milestone as we celebrate 50 years of doing business in Kenya and we look forward to exciting times ahead,” McCulloch said.