PepsiCo sales reached EGP 7.1bn from August 2013-August 2014, with the company injecting $600m in investments into Egypt over the past three years. Of this, $270m of which were supplied last year. The company is working to expand in the near future according to Omar Farid, Chairman of PepsiCo Middle East and North Africa, who sat down to an interview with Daily News Egypt.
You told Daily News Egypt that your investments did not stop despite the difficult circumstances experienced by Egypt during recent years. What do you mean by this?
Of course…PepsiCo is betting on an economic recovery in Egypt in the near future as a result of reform measures taken by the government, which all will lead to economic growth.
We met with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb as well as a group of ministers concerned with economic affairs when American companies visited Egypt last week.
What were the results of your meeting with the president, prime minister, and other ministers?
This is a very important question. Egypt’s political leadership and ministers emphasised that there was a strong movement toward reconsidering a significant number of laws pertaining to investment, which incentivises companies operating in Egypt to expand, generate more capital, and attract other companies to the market.
Of course, the economic circumstances which Egypt is now experiencing are difficult, but we have great confidence that they will be overcome.
The nation recently increased prices for petrol and electricity. How did this influence PepsiCo’s operation costs?
The state increasing energy and petroleum product prices formed a necessary step for the Egyptian economy, which is undergoing various crises at present, and PepsiCo understands this.
The move did influence our company as operation costs went up, and we are working very hard to ensure that these increases do not affect company sales.
Does the company intend to adopt renewable energy in its factories?
Energy is essential to investment in Egypt, and PepsiCo will work to study this subject and light its storage using new and renewable energy.
Are you afraid of your competitors, knowing your sales and growth rates on the Egyptian market?
No, but I can tell you that PepsiCo is at the forefront of companies operating in Egypt in the field of soft drinks, juices, and salty snacks.[c1]
Marketing experts have described your 2014 campaign as late, albeit successful. What are your plans for next year?
Thank God I can say that our campaign was fantastic. We used consumers’ opinions on their favourite flavour to guide production.
Consumers are partners in PepsiCo’s success, and we are committed to carrying out their wishes and requests.
As for marketing plans for the coming year, we hope to carry out many campaigns.
We have 11 factories in various areas across Egypt and 47 distribution centres. Our fleet is comprised of 2,000 vehicles that serve 260,000 retail outlets.
We are working to establish a network in all Egypt’s governorates and regions, which will ensure sales growth.
Is all PepsiCo production in Egypt consumed in Egypt, or is a portion exported to other markets?
The bulk of production is consumed in Egypt but the company exports some products like chips to Libya and Algeria.
How has worker performance developed?
This is a long story. We have 10,500 direct workers and 20,000 indirect workers, and worker evaluations are continuous. I invite you to visit our factories and talk to the workers.
I worked in the company for 32 years, and I call on all workers to be diligent in their work, which will allow our company to succeed and progress continuously.
PepsiCo contributes to local development – what are your most important projects in this field?
PepsiCo works to develop local communities in poor areas in particular, and as such we have implemented a learning-for-food programme which 175,000 individuals benefit from.
We have another regular programme in schools, which works to encourage sports in schools, and PepsiCo is proud to say that Egyptian football star Mohamed Salah was discovered through the programme.