YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–A grand opening of the Kotayk brewery of the Armenian-French company "SIL-BGI Armenie" took place on Monday in Abovian. The ceremony was attended by Acting President and Prime Minister Robert Kocharian–President of the well-known French company Castel Group Pierre Castel–French Ambassador to Armenia Michel Legras–as well as other government officials.
The Kotayk brewery has been completely repaired under an investment agreement of $18 million signed last year between the SIL Concern and Castel Group Company. The investment program will also undertake reconstruction of the Bjni factory. Armenia is the first among CIS and East European countries where Castel Group made such a big investment.
"That investment program is the best example of friendship and economic cooperation between the Armenian and French peoples," Kocharian said. Stressing the importance of the given investment program–he said that the primary task of the Armenian government is to develop Armenia’s industry. According to him–it is necessary to create favorable conditions for each investor–work directly with and respect the investor. "Only this way we will attract capital to Armenia and activate our market," Kocharian stated reaffirming that Castel Group will be followed by new investors–new production and new jobs.
Kocharian confessed that friendly relations with Castel oblige him to drink only Armenian-made beer. "From now on if somebody sees me drink other beer–he should blame me for breaking my promise," Kocharian said.
Well-known French entrepreneur Pierre Castel voiced gratitude to Armenia’s leadership and personally Kocharian for permitting the ten month reconstruction of the factory and showing interest in making investment in other spheres of Armenia’s economy.
The Armenian partner of Castel–SIL President Khachatur Sukiassian stated that the sides already started carrying out an investment program based on a joint venture on the basis of Parakar Winery that was purchased by Castel and SIL.
The Kotayk brewery produces about 20,000 bottles of beer a day under the names Castel and Kotayk. Soon the two more beer products will be added. Whisky production is also scheduled. By summer–the daily production is supposed to reach 100,000 bottles. The factory has also began producing Diams vodka.
The administration of the enterprise says it is possible to sell 200-250,000 bottles of vodka in Armenia. 320 people work at the Kotayk brewery–where the average salary is 40-45,000 drams. The enterprise exports 20 to 30 percent of its production to regional countries–especially to Russia and the United Arab Emirates.