Load-shedding sees SAB spend R20m on generators

SA BREWERIES is spending R20-million on two high-tech generators at its malting plants in Cape Town and Gauteng following the country’s recent spate of load-shedding.

SAB malting general manager Thinus van Schoor said at the Caledon plant that the company was in negotiations with Eskom to determine a voluntary load-shedding schedule.

“We are very reliant on electricity and depending on the volume of malt at the time. It could lead to millions of rands in losses each time the power goes out,” he said.

“We are continuing to implement measures to reduce our electricity usage as requested by Eskom and are also investing in generators so we can prevent any loss of product.”

Each time the power cut out at the Caledon facility, SAB stood to potentially lose up to R11-million, he said.

To date there had been no losses, due to the implementation of contingency measures.

SAB is spending almost R1billion on building its state-ofthe-art malt factory in Gauteng. “A key thing we will do is put in generators.”

During yesterday’s plant tour – part of the SAB Heritage Tour which began on Wednesday – it was revealed that by the middle of next year, SAB wants to export malt barley to other SAB Miller operations in Africa as part of its long-term plan to increase revenue and boost South African farming.

“We want to be completely self-sufficient which is why we are assisting South African farmers in farming malt. ”

Malt barley was exported to Namibia, and this would be expanded to Mozambique, Lesotho, Swaziland and Botswana.

Van Schoor said that by next year, SAB Malting plants planned not to import any barley, which they had been doing for years to meet the growing demand for beer.

“We have invested heavily into the farming communities to allow for maximum output. The barley is then purchased and processed at our plants before being sold to SAB and to local craft beer makers.”

SAB Malting had recruited about 250 commercial farmers in South Africa to work with.

“When we become self-sufficient we estimate this will grow to about 650 farmers.”

-Gareth Wilson 

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