FlexLink, which works with Nestlé and Mondelēz, has opened a sales and engineering office in Johannesburg to support the South Africa and Sub-Sahara region with plans to expand in South America.
The company, which sells conveyors belts primarily for the food and packaging industry such as tea, biscuits and coffee, opened an office in Turkey last year and another in South Korea this year.
Vietnam and the Philippines
Peter Lindkvist, corporate development, FlexLink told FoodProductionDaily it wants to expand its footprint in South America as it current only has an office in Brazil.
“The large CPG companies are expanding and investing in these countries, if they are expanding then so will we to make sure we can pursue those opportunities,” he said.
“Vietnam and the Philippines are not huge markets but we want to secure a local presence through a smaller structure as well.”
Nestlé reported a 7.3% increase in sales in emerging markets such as Asia, Oceania and Africa, according to Bloomberg this year.
Kraft Foods, part of Mondelēz International, is investing $85m in biscuit plant in Suzhou, China which is expected to be completed in August 2014.
The project will more than double the plant's current capacity and feature production lines to make Oreo and Chips Ahoy! biscuits to meet the growing demand from Chinese consumers.
“Our ambition is have a global presence and service customers locally,” added Lindkvist.
Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria
He said the Johannesburg business unit will support the entire Sub-Sahara region where industrial production growth is strong. This includes countries such as Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria.
It will also offer after care support for all its installations via technical support hubs and its partners in South Africa.
“We see a strong growth in GDP in this region and consumption of packaged branded products are growing. Products that are taking off include basic ‘bread and butter stuff’ like tea, biscuits, coffee,” he added.
“People have moved from ‘old stock’ to what we would call in western Europe middle class type food and drinks. Products we take for granted but what they consider a luxury in packaged and branded food.
“We see great potential in investing in Africa. It has a huge population that is growing rapidly. Without a doubt within 30 years’ time, everyone will be using branded goods whereas at the moment, in countries like Nigeria and Kenya there is only a small penetration of basic food types.”
FlexLink is headquartered in Göteborg, Sweden, and operates in 30 countries with representatives in more than 60. It has 840 employees and is part of the Coesia Group, which has a turnover of €1,370m in 2013.
“Going forward we plan to drive the business forward and focus on consolidating our new offices to make things run smoothly,” added Lindkvist.