KABANDA CHULU, Lusaka
THE worldâ€™s largest brewer and Belgian-based, Anheuser-Busch (AB InBev), has completed its takeover of SABMiller in a deal estimated to be over US$100 billion, but the development will not affect the shareholding structure of Zambian Breweries and other local subsidiaries.
The conclusion of the deal that was, partly opposed by some shareholders of SABMiller will provide more choices for the Zambian consumers who will now benefit from renowned premium brands such as Budweiser and Stella Artois.
SABMiller is the parent company of Zambian Breweries (ZB), National Breweries and Heinrich Syndicate.
Announcing the takeover yesterday, ZB managing director Annabelle Degroot said the company is committed to long term growth and investment in Zambia.
â€œZB, National Breweries and Heinrich Syndicate [producers of maheu] will continue to produce mosi, castle, chibuku and other brands for our loyal customers, and we also look forward to introducing new premium brands in the future.
â€œWe are building a company to last, not just for a decade but for decades to come. The company will continue to develop business, in partnership with our suppliers and remains committed to helping farmers, retailers, entrepreneurs and communities thrive,â€ she said.
Asked about changes in prices on the Zambian market and shareholding structure regarding the takeover, Ms Degroot said no major changes are anticipated.
â€œAny growth in beer volumes trickles down in the economy and the way to generate growth, is to have affordable products so we will try to maintain affordable prices while giving consumers a choice amongst our brands.
â€œEqually, the shareholding structure will not change and the company will remain listed at Lusaka Stock Exchange, and will continue with its corporate social responsibility programmes and continued investments such as the planned expansion of capacity at the Ndola plant,â€ she said.
Ms Degroot said there are no immediate plans underway to build a new plant to brew the new premium brands.
â€œBudweiser, for example, is a premium brand with a small market locally, initially, the brands will be imported and thereafter, assessments will be done,â€ he said.
The deal, the largest-ever in the consumer industry, would combine AB InBevâ€™s budweiser, stella artois and corona with SABMillerâ€™s castle lager and take it into fast-growing African and new Latin American markets.
KABANDA CHULU, Lusaka