Czech engineering firm sees brewery construction as calling card for African orders

Illustrative photo: archive of ZVU POTEZ

A Czech engineering company is hoping that the completion of a new Ethiopian brewery will be a calling card for a lot more business on the African continent as it looks to diversify sales out of Europe and the former Soviet Union.

Illustrative photo: archive of ZVU POTEZ
Hradec Králové mutifaceted engineering company ZVU POTEZ perhaps exemplifies where Czech industry would like to be going right now: out of Europe and the former Soviet Union and into the rest of the world.

The employer of around 500 produces the machinery for sugar manufacturing plants, distilleries, food processing, chemicals production, pharmaceuticals, and breweries. It offers either turn key solutions are provides just part of the manufacturing process. And while traditional domestic, European and Russian markets have been the biggest markets in the past, the company has a global vision.

Last weekend, two years of preparations and construction culminated in the handover of a completed brewery in Ethiopia which should produce around 600,000 hectolitres of beer a year.

The contact, estimated to be worth more than 700 million crowns, was landed in the face of tough competition, for example, from German worldwide brewing technology provider Ziemann International, which, as testified by its participation in the upcoming Africa brewing fair in Maputo, Mozambique, is also keen to develop its African sales.

Bosses at ZVU POTEZ say the Ethiopian contact is a milestone because it at one stroke puts the firm among the world’s big players and, going forward, the contract alone will represent in the coming years around 20 percent of the annual turnover of around 500 crowns a year. It is also hoped that it will be a calling card that will open many more African doors.

The Ethiopian contract may well not be the last from Africa. ZVU POTEZ is currently negotiating a series of other contracts for breweries and sugar plants on the continent with their value each in the range of dozens of millions of euro.

Meanwhile, although Czech companies have been concerned about a fall off in orders from the former Soviet Union due to the weakness of the rouble and current political tension, ZVU POTEZ has been able to seal a contract for chemical manufacturing facilities there worth more than 200 million crowns. That should help this year’s turnover climb to around 700 million crowns.

Altogether, the Czech company has constructed 200 breweries, 50 mini breweries, and 220 sugar production plants at home and around the world.

ZVU Potez has a history of opening doors where few may not have thought about knocking. In 2012 it sealed a contract to set up a microbrewery in North Korea. The brewery was tasked with producing Pilsen-style lager, mainly apparently with a view to sales to Chinese and Russian tourists.