AB InBev to spend $310m in Africa

Brewer is eye­ing pro­jects in Ghana, Zam­bia and Nige­ria, and in­creas­ing out­put at its two big­gest plants in SA

CityPress - - Business - JUSTIN BROWN busi­ness@city­press.co.za

AB InBev is look­ing to spend $250 mil­lion (R3.24 bil­lion) on a green­fields ex­pan­sion pro­ject in Nige­ria, as well as spend­ing $30 mil­lion on ex­pand­ing its op­er­a­tions in Zam­bia and Ghana for a to­tal in­vest­ment of $310 mil­lion. This ac­cord­ing to sources close to AB InBev, who wished to re­main anony­mous.

Trevor San­der­son, the vice-pres­i­dent of sup­ply and man­u­fac­tur­ing at AB InBev and its sub­sidiary, SA Brew­eries (SAB), said AB InBev was plan­ning to set up a new brew­ery in Nige­ria and was working with the rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties to en­sure that all ap­provals were in place.

“We are con­stantly re­view­ing our busi­nesses across Africa to as­sess op­por­tu­ni­ties, and we will be in a po­si­tion to speak fur­ther about this in due course,” he added.

Ri­cardo Tadeu, pres­i­dent of the new Africa zone in AB InBev, said the multi­na­tional brew­ing com­pany would an­nounce “a pack­age of in­vest­ments in Africa in the next few months”.

These in­vest­ments would com­prise a mix of green­field pro­jects, an in­crease in brew­ing ca­pac­ity as well as new pack­ag­ing lines.

Tadeu de­clined to pro­vide fig­ures for these in­vest­ments. Last week, SAB an­nounced that it was in­vest­ing

R2.8 bil­lion in brew­ery ex­pan­sions at its Al­rode and Ross­lyn brew­eries in Gaut­eng and would in­tro­duce two new pack­ag­ing lines for re­turn­able glass bot­tles.

The lo­cal ex­pan­sion will cre­ate about 70 more jobs.

In Oc­to­ber, AB InBev bought its global ri­val SABMiller for more than $100 bil­lion. The last in­vest­ment made by SABMiller in terms of new ca­pac­ity in South Africa was in 2008.

SAB has seven lo­cal brew­eries that pro­duce for the mass mar­ket. They are sit­u­ated in var­i­ous prov­inces, namely:

. KwaZulu-Na­tal: Prospec­ton Brew­ery in Dur­ban

. Western Cape: New­lands Brew­ery in Cape Town

. Eastern Cape: Ib­hayi Brew­ery in Port Elizabeth

. Gaut­eng: Al­rode, Ross­lyn and Cham­dor brew­eries

. Lim­popo: Polok­wane Brew­ery The Cham­dor Brew­ery, lo­cated on Johannesburg’s West Rand, is a small re­search and de­vel­op­ment es­tab­lish­ment which also pro­duces craft beers.

Tadeu told City Press that for now, the ex­pan­sion at the Al­rode and Ross­lyn brew­eries were the only pro­jects that the com­pany was working on in South Africa. “We are analysing the port­fo­lio. There are some in­di­vid­ual in­vest­ments that we need to make in some cat­e­gories. More things are go­ing to come,” he said. Tadeu added that the com­pany was not look­ing to do any ac­qui­si­tions in the lo­cal mar­ket at the mo­ment.

“Ev­ery­thing de­pends on op­por­tu­ni­ties. When it comes to busi­ness, you can never say never.” Re­gard­ing the Al­rode and Ross­lyn brew­eries, Tadeu said they had “very high util­i­sa­tion lev­els” and the ex­pan­sion would give the group an op­por­tu­nity to grow.

He sin­gled out SAB’s pre­mium brand, Fly­ing Fish, as one that could be ex­panded.

Although AB InBev has been look­ing to pro­duce Bud­weiser and Stella Ar­tois at its lo­cal plants, this will not

Ri­cardo Tadeu

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