Sodastream to invest NIS 90m in expanding Negev factory

SodaStream Negev plant Photo: Eyal Yizhar

The company, which has now been acquired by PepsiCo, will receive an NIS 18 million state grant for the project.

Since 2012, Sodastream International Ltd. (Nasdaq: SODA;TASE: SODA) has received grants totaling NIS 46 million from the state for investments amounting to NIS 400 million, the Ministry of Economy and Industry Investment Promotion Center said yesterday. The grants were given to Sodastream for two rounds of investment: in 2012 and 2014.

Another investment by Sodastream is planned soon, after the company submitted a plan to spend NIS 90 million on expanding its plant in the Idan Hanegev industrial zone in the south. The company will receive an NIS 18 million state grant for this purpose.

"The company is now waiting for the permits required for implementation of its plan, including construction and procurement of advanced equipment that will improve production on the site," Investment Promotion Center director Nahum Itzkovich told "Globes." "Sodastream is a growing company that is fulfilling and even exceeding all of its commitments to the state in volume of exports and hiring employees."

As a company that exports most of its output to dozens of countries around the world, Sodastream benefits from reduced 7.5% corporate tax because it produces what it exports in an A development region and meets the criteria stipulated in the Law for the Encouragement of Capital Investments.

Change in the map of employment in the south

The Ministry of Economy and Industry regards Sodastream's plan in the Idan Hanegev industrial zone as a model for integrating minorities in the employment cycle. One of the government's goals is to significantly increase the number of haredi (Jewish ultra-Orthodox) men and Arab women in the labor market. The plant near Rahat employs hundreds of men and women residing in Bedouin communities in the Negev. The number of these employees will increase when the company's new investments plan is carried out.

Itzkovich says that Sodastream's activity in the Negev "has changed the map of employment in the south, especially in Rahat, by making hundreds of jobs available to Bedouin women, thereby strengthening the population in the entire region."

An Investment Promotion source said, "The company employs a lot of Bedouin women. It exports all its output from the plant in the south all over the world, while at the same time, countering the maneuvers of the BDS movement, which has tried to boycott it in various ways. We should all be glad about such a successful and model company, and should toast it with a barrel of soda."

Commitment to Israel anchored in an agreement

Minister of Economy and Industry Eli Cohen yesterday hailed the Sodastream-PepsiCo deal, saying, "The progress in industry and employment that Sodastream and its CEO, Daniel Birnbaum, are making is a true national and patriotic mission shared by many companies. As Sodastream develops creatively and innovatively and expands its exports, its contribution to the Israeli economy and Israel's global image will become even greater."

Cohen spoke with Birnbaum yesterday. After the talk, Cohen said, "Birnbaum repeated Sodastream's commitment to Israel and said that it was anchored in the agreement."

NIS 50 million investment in expanding the Rahat plant within five years

While its employees are still toasting Sodastream's acquisition by global company Pepsico, the company is continuing plans to expand its manufacturing activity in Israel. Less than a month ago, the Investment Promotion Center approved Sodastream's new investment plan, including expansion of its main production facility in the Idan Hanegev industrial zone near Rahat.

Under the plan, Sodastream will invest NIS 90 million in developing the plant, which currently has 1,100 employees. When the expansion plan is completed, Sodastream will hire 160 new employees. Sodastream will receive an NIS 18 million grant for its investment.

Sodastream's strategic investments plan includes construction of another building on the company's existing site at Idan Hanegev and the introduction of advanced production machinery that will increase the volume and productivity of production. Products made by Sodastream in its plant include carbonation devices, carbonation containers, refillable bottles, and beverage concentrates. Most of the products are currently made using a combination of machines and manual labor by hundreds of employees working in shifts.

The Investment Promotion Center told "Globes" yesterday that the investment plan approved for Sodastream will enable the company to improve the quality of its products, while increasing productivity, through advanced production lines featuring up-to-date automation and mechanization.

The approval given to Sodastream by the Investment Promotion Center for carrying out its new expansion plan at Idan Hanegev is valid for five years, during which it can enjoy the benefits offered by the state.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 21, 2018

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2018

SodaStream Negev plant Photo: Eyal Yizhar
SodaStream Negev plant Photo: Eyal Yizhar
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