The Coca-Cola Company and Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) have reached an agreement regarding the transition of AB InBev’s 54.5 per cent equity stake in Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) for US$3.15 billion, after customary adjustments.
Coke and AB InBev, the world’s largest makers of soft drinks and beer, respectively, announced the transaction in a joint statement on Wednesday.
CCBA includes the countries of Ghana, South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Mayotte and Comoros.
The Coca-Cola system in Ghana is made up of Coca-Cola Equatorial Africa Limited and its franchised bottling partner, The Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Ghana (TCCBCG). It produces and markets seven main brands, five carbonated soft drinks and two water brands. The carbonated soft drinks include; Coca Cola, Fanta, Sprite, Schweppes and Krest. Dasani and BonAqua are the two water brands.
The divestment comes after AB InBev closed its $104 billion acquisition of SABMiller Plc in October, one of the largest-ever mergers in corporate history.
In addition, Coke and AB InBev said they have reached an agreement in principle for the former to acquire the latter’s interest in bottling operations in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, El Salvador and Honduras for an undisclosed amount.
The transactions are subject to the relevant regulatory and minority approvals and are expected to close by the end of 2017, according to the statement.
Coca-Cola had retained the right to buy SABMiller’s stake in the event of a change of control of the joint venture.
The soft drinks maker plans to hold all of these territories temporarily until they can be refranchised to other partners, with intent to account for the acquired stakes as a discontinued operation for reporting purposes.
Carlos Brito, CEO of AB InBev, said: “We are happy that we have been able to reach this agreement with the Coca-Cola Company in a timely manner and with a satisfactory outcome for all parties.”
“We are pleased to have reached an agreement quickly that is in everyone’s best interests,” said Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Company.
We will move forward with our long-term strategic plan in these important growth markets.”
He said Coca-Cola was continuing negotiations with a number of parties who were
highly qualified and interested in these bottling territories and “look forward to refranchising these territories as soon as practical following regulatory approval”.
In 2014, SABMiller and Coca-Cola merged their soft drinks bottling operations in South and East Africa with Gutsche Family Investments (GFI) to create CCBA with $2.9 billion in revenue across 12 fast-growing markets.
CCBA, headquartered in South Africa, distributes about 40 per cent of Coke’s volumes in the continent. It is 57 per cent owned by SABMiller, 31.7 per cent by GFI, with Coca-Cola Company holding the remaining 11.3 per cent.
With over 30 bottling plants, CCBA is the largest bottler in Africa and serves 12 high-growth countries accounting for approximately 40 per cent of all Coca-Cola beverage volumes in Africa.
Africa is an attractive market for packaged food and drink makers, due to the increasing appetite and discretionary budget of its growing middle class.