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To meet the two-digit market growth from carbonated soft drinks consumers, Oman Refreshment Company (ORC), a franchisee of PepsiCo International, has recently acquired a new production line from Sidel, which will enable the Omani bottler to increase its production capacity.

ORC operates in different categories of the food and beverage market in Oman. The carbonated soft drinks category is the company's main focus, which includes Pepsi, Mountain Dew and 7UP, to name but a few. ORC has an 89% market share of this category. According to industry estimates, carbonated soft drinks were the most consumed beverage items in Oman with 362.4 million litres recorded at the end of 2014, and a projected Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 8.3 per cent over the next five years.

Since February 2015, ORC has been operating a Sidel Matrix Combi12 line which produces carbonated soft drinks in a 2.25 litre format at a speed of 18,000 bottles per hour. "Our collaboration with Sidel started around 16 years ago," said Youssef Ezzikhe, General Manager of ORC. "With the growing local demand for our products and carbonated soft drinks in general, we approached Sidel again to obtain a production line which will enable us to increase production, and eventually achieve a stronger competitive edge."

Despite the challenges presented by the carbonation process in terms of the bottle format, lightweighting has been applied to the 2.25 litre bottles by Sidel's Packaging Services team, part of the Sidel Services business unit. The Sidel Matrix Combi unifies blowing, filling and capping for the production of the lightweighted bottles at high speed. Because of the neck-handling and transfer of bottles between blow moulding and filling, the Sidel Matrix Combi is not affected by any limitations imposed by air conveyors.

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