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Castel to close Mzuzu factory

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By Patience Lunda, Contributor:

LECRERC (LEFT)—We are going to transfer our production line

Castel Malawi, formerly Carlsberg Malawi Limited, is closing its production factory in Mzuzu due to a drop in sales of products, the company has confirmed.

It has been revealed that the company has been making a loss of up to 40 percent, from 2012 to this year, in Mzuzu.

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In an interview, Castel Malawi Managing Director, Gilles Leclerc, confirmed the development, saying the company would concentrate on its production in Blantyre.

“We are going to transfer our production line from Mzuzu to Blantyre and we will just be supplying [products] to Mzuzu,” he said.

He said the closure was not connected with the ban which Malawi Bureau of Standards imposed on the company for producing squash which contained tartrazine, a chemical which is considered harmful to human beings.

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“We produce sobo orange squash in Blantyre and we produce coca-cola range of products in Mzuzu and the closure is strictly due to the 40 percent losses we are encountering as a company. The financial situation of Castel Malawi today does not allow maintaining the operation of three factories in the country,” Leclerc said.

Reacting to the development, a salesperson at a retail shop in Mzuzu, Leonard Gondwe, feared that the closure would result in scarcity of beverages in the city.

“The closure will be bad news for our business because we used to have coca-cola products readily available but we will now be waiting for supply from Blantyre which is not good. The use of vehicles is not ideal because they can easily break down,” he said.

A consumer of coca-cola products in the city, Taonga Phiri, said the development might also affect employees at the company since they would be unemployed.

The process of closing the factory will be completed by the end of this year.

But Lecrerc said all necessary procedures are in place so as to avoid unmerited loss of due to the closure.

“Mzuzu technical staff will be re-classed to both factories in Blantyre and Lilongwe,” he said.

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