Received by President Paul Biya in Yaounde, French businessman Pierre Castel has announced an investment programme in the Cameroonian agri-food sector. A financial commitment that reflects the desire of the eponymous group to better control the value chain.
Having become France’s eighth wealthiest (14 billion euros in assets according to Challenges magazine) thanks to the notorious success of its brewing activities in Africa, Pierre Castel continues to weave its web on the continent. Received on 20 December at the Palais d’Etoudi, the French businessman, head of the eponymous group, presented his new investment programme to the Cameroonian president, Paul Biya. At the heart of this financial commitment is Castel’s desire to « reduce imports of raw materials used in the manufacture of brewing products », explains the press release of the Cameroonian presidency. Also present at the audience, the French ambassador to Cameroon, Christophe Guilhou, for his part, said that with this program, financed « to the tune of several tens of billions of CFA francs », the Castel group was seeking to « […] turn more and more to the production in Cameroon of factors that contribute to [its] industrial production. In fact, the management of the hexagonal giant indicates that only 30% of its inputs are currently supplied to Cameroon (30,000 tons of sugar and 10,000 tons of corn), the rest (70%) having to be imported. As for the sectors targeted by the expected investments, although no details have yet been communicated, it can be assumed that they will primarily concern maize and sugar, the main inputs used in the manufacture of products sold by the Société des Brasseries du Cameroun, the Cameroonian subsidiary of the Castel galaxy1. This would be further proof of the French group’s determination to increasingly control the upstream part of its supply chain. Earlier, at the end of October, it was the Congolese company Société les Grands Moulins du phare (SGMP), a subsidiary of the French company Somdiaa, which announced the launch in 2020, in Pointe-Noire, of a new production unit for corn grits (a by-product used for fermentation) to supply the breweries of its parent company, Castel.
1 The group, which is active in wine and beer, has 250 known subsidiaries, has a turnover of 6 billion euros and employs 37,000 people worldwide.