Coca Cola - Pic by Wilfredo Lee, AP

The head office of the world’s seventh largest Coca-Cola bottling partner by revenue opened in Port Elizabeth on Thursday with the launch of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa’s (CCBA) new head office facility.

The building will house the largest Coca-Cola bottler on the African continent, accounting for around 40% of all Coca-Cola volumes sold in Africa.

The company began its operations as CCBA in July 2016, having been created as a result of a merger between the non-alcoholic ready-to-drink bottling operations of The Coca-Cola Company, SABMiller, and the Gutsche Family Investments.

CCBA chief executive Doug Jackson said: “CCBA is building a successful Coca-Cola bottler in Africa, which means greater shared value for the business and the communities the region serves, and we are optimistic about the future growth of our business on the continent.

“We aspire to be the best Coca-Cola bottler in the world and Africa’s most valuable independent food and beverage company, driven by engaged, motivated, and capable employees. The opening of a new head office is part of creating a first-class working environment for our staff, with a design that truly reflects the ambition of CCBA on the African continent.”

According to company, the new CCBA head office is being rented from the developers, which adds additional value, with Port Elizabeth being a far more cost efficient place to have a head office versus rental prices in Johannesburg. The new head office was created by developers Jenz Heinberg to meet the growing needs of CCBA, and will be home to 102 employees. 

According to a statement from the company, DHK Interior Design Architects has created a modern and artistically functional building, and local street artist Joff was commissioned for some of the interior artwork.

The company added that Port Elizabeth has played an important role in the history of Coca-Cola in South Africa. The link to the Gutsche family goes back to 1940 when Philipp R Gutsche joined SA Bottling Company as a driver salesman.  He subsequently became the sole owner in 1960. As a student, Phil Gutsche, spent holidays working for the company gaining experience, and after graduating he joined the Coca-Cola Export Corporation as a trainee. Eighteen months later he joined Sabco as manager of the Port Elizabeth plant. In 1975 he was appointed managing director of Sabco and he later became CEO and Chairman of Coca-Cola Sabco.  

In 2001 he handed over the reigns as CEO, while continuing as Non-Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Phil Gutsche, currently the chairman of CCBA, said: “Port Elizabeth has been an important part of the history of CCBA and we are really proud to be opening this new head office today. Its modernity reflects the company’s ambitious growth strategy aligned with The Coca-Cola Company’s 2020 Vision and will be supported through investment in manufacturing, sales, distribution and marketing.”

- African News Agency (ANA)