Moroccan company buys Guinea Bissau’s only beermaker

29 November 2006

Bissau, Guinea Bissau, 29 Nov – Moroccan company Africa Bottling Co. has bought the only beermaking company in Guinea Bissau, CICER, from Portuguese businessman Cardoso e Cunha for US$2 million, a company spokesperson said Tuesday.

Karim Omar, from the Moroccan company, told Portuguese news agency Lusa that the parties made the deal official in the presence of the president of Guinea Bissau, João Bernardo “Nino” Vieira.

Omar said that businessmen from his country were being encouraged to invest in Guinea Bissau not only by the Guinean authorities but also by King Mohamed VI.

The company, which will change its name from Companhia Industrial de Cervejas e Refrigerantes to Africa Bottling Co, will begin producing soft drinks, milk, yogurts and ice cream and mineral water and the new products are due on the Guinean market in the first quarter of 2007.

Founded in the first few years of Guinea’s independence, CICER was one of the few industrial units operating in the country, with just over 90 local workers.

CICER had not been in operation since 2001, when Cardoso e Cunha decided to leave the Guinean market and the Minister of Trade, Industry and Handicrafts, Pascoal Baticã, noted the importance of rehabilitating the unit.

According to the minister, the sale of the units should be seen as a “oxygen balloon” for the country’s economy, but also as the “best solution” for CICER, noting that the company’s workers that had not been absorbed by its new owners, particularly the older ones, would receive compensation. (macauhub)