In 1952, the late Toufic Assaf along with his brothers Youssef, Salim and Anis introduced Pepsi-Cola to the Lebanese market through SMLC, which is the bottling company they founded. SMLC – Société Moderne Libanaise pour le Commerce- is the first Pepsi franchisee and bottler in the Levant. The company started its operation in the Hazmieh plant and over the years, the company grew its line of products to include Mirinda, 7up and a number of other brands; as well SMLC added a major production facility in the Choueifat industrial zone in the 1980s.
The company has known considerable success and has grown significantly in over 60 years of operation. In 2001, SMLC made a strategic alliance with PepsiCo which enlarged the shareholders’ base of SMLC, with the majority of the SMLC shares remaining with the Assaf family. This joint venture proved very successful since SMLC grew considerably as a company; and has expanded both in its portfolio of products and geographically. Since 2001, a number of brands were gradually added to SMLC’s portfolio, these include: Tropicana, Mr. Juicy, Lipton Ice Tea, Gatorade, AMP, H2Oh!, and Aquafina mineral water.
DID YOU KNOW?
Today, SMLC has the highest carbonated soft drinks market share in the world and has been a member of Pepsi Chairman’s Club since its inception. That club consists of the Pepsi Bottling operations which have more than 80% market share in their territory.
WHAT IS THE INNOVATION?
At SMLC, Innovation is a core critical success factor and is fully embedded in its vision. Few examples:
In line with our vision of being a total and diversified beverage company, SMLC disrupted the cola category in 2019 by driving more recruitment through an exciting new offering: A flavored Pepsi with NO sugar, with three variants regular, lime and ginger.
Following the successful introduction of Aquafina as Natural Mineral Water in the Lebanese market, SMLC expanded its capacity by investing in a state-of-the-art production facility at Qaa el Rim, Bekaa. A fully integrated hygienic design of the building, a perfect execution and a quick assimilation of new, high-tech fully automated equipment, made Aquafina plant a reference for all local and regional bottled water manufacturers. In addition, our R&D succeeded in further reduction of PET bottles weight in all formats.
“Resource Conservation” is a continuous action plan towards the global sustainability objectives. A strict methodology based on data collection, prioritization and focused action has led to a reduction of water consumption by more than 56% in few years. The same concept has resulted in a 60% reduction of fuel usage for electricity generation and thermal energy. Smart applications like “Avoid, Reduce, Reclaim and Recycle”, a locally engineered “Heat Recovery Steam Generator” or a “cold water recovery from CO2
evaporator” are among the innovative tools used to achieve these results.
As a socially responsible company, SMLC embarked into the journey of renewable energy and waste management. A 1,03 MW photovoltaic station is currently providing the plant at Choueifat with 25% of its daily electrical needs. The in-house designed controller is able to optimize the output from the solar modules and feed the current in the most profitable configuration between the diesel generators and the public grid. Other initiatives include the deployment of large capacity reverse vending machines with the objective of educating and encouraging our consumers to recycle their empty cans and bottles.
A Business Intelligence system adapted to our large Sales and Distribution network, a fully automated data acquisition to capture without any human intervention all parameters, alerts and status of our production lines, the roll out of E-commerce platform, are also examples of the digitization journey SMLC is committed to.