The Coca-Cola Company, SABMiller plc and Gutsche Family Investments, the majority shareholders in Coca-Cola Sabco have agreed to combine the bottling operations of their non-alcoholic ready-to-drink beverages businesses in Southern and East Africa.
The new bottler, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, will serve 12 high-growth countries accounting for approximately 40 per cent of all Coca-Cola beverage volumes in Africa.
With more than 30 bottling plants and over 14,000 employees, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa will be the largest Coca‑Cola bottler on the continent, with the scale, complementary capabilities and resources to capture and accelerate top-line growth. This will also allow the new African bottler to develop best operating practices and invest in production, sales and distribution, and marketing to benefit from growing demand and drive profitability.
On full completion of the proposed merger, shareholdings in Coca-Cola Beverages Africa will be SABMiller: 57.0%, Gutsche Family Investments: 31.7% and The Coca-Cola Company: 11.3%.
“A combined Coca-Cola bottling operation is further evidence of our commitment to Africa, and our firm belief in the tremendous growth prospects that the continent offers,” said Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company. “As one of the top 10 largest Coca-Cola bottling partners worldwide, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa can leverage the scale, resources, capability and efficiency needed to accelerate Coca-Cola growth and contribute to the economic and social prosperity of African communities.”
“Soft drinks are an important element of our growth strategy. This transaction increases our exposure to the total beverage market in Africa. The opportunity is significant, with favourable demographics and economic development pointing to excellent growth prospects,” said Alan Clark, SABMiller Chief Executive. “This also signifies a strengthening of our strategic relationship with The Coca-Cola Company.”
Phil Gutsche, Chairman of Gutsche Family Investments (GFI), said, “Our family sees this merger as an important and logical step to enable Coca-Cola Beverages Africa to optimise the opportunities for development in the rapidly-evolving Africa beverage market. We are very excited about the opportunity and are totally committed to ensuring that Coca-Cola Sabco’s distinctive culture is successfully integrated with that of our new partners in order to create an even more successful business in the future.”
The transaction, to be completed in two phases, will bring together SABMiller’s South African soft drinks bottling businesses, Amalgamated Beverage Industries (ABI) and Appletiser, and its soft drink bottling businesses in eight other African countries with GFI’s bottling interests in Coca-Cola Sabco, including its South African bottler, Coca‑Cola Fortune, and its bottling operations in six other African countries and the Coca-Cola Company’s South African soft drinks businesses in the form of Coca-Cola Canners, Valpré and Coca-Cola Shanduka Beverages.
Coca-Cola Beverages Africa will serve South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Namibia, Comoros and Mayotte.
SABMiller intends to include at a later date its Swaziland soft drinks business and those of its listed subsidiaries in Botswana and Zambia, subject to agreement in due course with those subsidiaries and the requisite regulatory and shareholder approvals.
Phil Gutsche will be Chairman of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa and Port Elizabeth, South Africa is the intended location for the company’s headquarters.
As part of the transaction, The Coca-Cola Company will also acquire SABMiller’s Appletiser brands on a worldwide basis, and acquire or be licensed rights to a further 19 non-alcoholic ready-to-drink brands in Africa and in Latin America, for an approximate cash consideration of US$260m. SABMiller will retain ownership of its non-alcoholic malt beverages in Africa and Latin America and will retain its Coca-Cola franchises in El Salvador and Honduras.