Brewery testing soon
Banks Holdings Limited is expected to meet foreign competition head-on when its near $70 million brewery starts testing products in another four weeks.
The facility at Newton, Christ Church, which has employed 125 locals and 75 Europeans in the construction phase, will provide even more high-tech jobs when it opens in about a month.
Richard Cozier, managing director of BHL, the parent company of Banks Barbados Breweries Limited, said the new brewery was a turnkey project.
And while there was some outstanding work to be completed on the massive state-of-the-art facility, the installation of brewery equipment was almost done.
He told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY that the buildings cost $12 million to $15 million to construct, while the equipment from German firm Krones was a $54 million investment.
Responding to reports that the company had brought Russians to Barbados to build the facility, Cozier explained that German company Krones was contracted to build the brewery to BHL’s specifications, test the product, and when BHL was satisfied, the facility would be handed over to the local conglomerate.
“Krones is the No. 1 brewery equipment manufacturer in the world and it is they who have brought in technical staff from Germany and the Czech Republic to work on the project,” he noted.
“Anytime that you are expanding at this level, there will be a different degree of operation and while we may not need as many people in one area, we will definitely need more engineering staff,” he said in response to queries about staff changes.
While not giving details on possible employment cuts at the new facility, the top executive said the company was currently in negotiations with the Barbados Workers’ Union.
Furthermore, Cozier said that while the company would want young, energetic, qualified staff to work in the brewery, it was currently identifying staff for specialist training, since BHL had benefited over the years from hard-working, committed staff.
Foreign financier Latin Capital Fund is funding the construction of BHL’s new brewery.
And as part of the agreement signed last year, Latin Capital Fund immediately had the $53 million loan converted into 13.25 million BHL shares.
That move resulted in the financier’s owning 20 per cent of the local conglomerate, which also owns and operates Barbados Bottling Company Ltd, Pine Hill Dairy and Banks Brewery.