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Zest-O to build plant in Indonesia

Beverage producer Zest-O Corp. will build a manufacturing facility in Indonesia, the company’s founder and top executive said Tuesday.

Zest-O founder and president Alfredo Yao said the company, a division of Asiawide Refreshments Corp., was set to sign a joint venture agreement with an Indonesian partner this week to set up a beverage manufacturing plant in Southeast Asia’s largest economy.

Yao, the current president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said his company had finalized negotiations for the joint venture with a listed Indonesian company.

“After this, we will build the factory that will produce two lines of beverages, initially. Right now, we’re still exporting and distributing Zest-O products in Indonesia,” Yao said at the sidelines of the signing of a memorandum of agreement between PCCI and the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig.

Yao said he was set to fly to Indonesia within the week to seal the agreement.

He said Zest-O saw the wisdom of setting up a dedicated manufacturing plant in Indonesia because of the difficulty of exporting the product abroad due the “costly logistics of moving a low-value product.”

He said the joint venture company that would be created would manufacture Zest-O juices and a local Indonesian beverage brand.

Zest-O’s joint venture partner is a beverage and dairy company listed at the Bursa Efek Jakarta or the Jakarta Stock Exchange.

Meanwhile, Yao said the company’s ongoing expansion in the US was on track after a subsidiary of US beverage firm Cott Corp. agreed to team up with the Philippines’ leading beverage producer.

Cott’s brands include Cott, RC, Ben Shaws, Stars & Stripes,Vintage and Vess soft drinks, ready-to-drink teas, sparkling and flavored waters, sports and energy drinks, juice drinks and smoothies.

Yao’s conglomerate includes Zest-O Corp., Asiawide Refreshments Corp., Solmac Marketing, Inc., Philippine Business Bank, Zest Airways Inc. and Pharma-Rex Inc.

Yao said that all companies under the Yao Group would continue to expand in 2015.

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