The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO), SABMiller plc (LSE:SAB, JSE:SABJ) and Gutsche Family Investments (GFI, 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% of all Coca-Cola beverage volumes in Africa.
Africa offers significant growth potential in beverages, underpinned by rising personal disposable income, a fast-growing population and increasing per capita consumption. 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.
With a shared vision, extensive experience of operating in African markets, and long-term commitment to the continent, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa will be strongly positioned to offer consumers greater choice, broader availability and better value. The new bottler will continue the shareholders' strong commitment to the economic and social development of the communities it serves, which includes providing access to clean water, supporting women's economic empowerment and promoting wellbeing.
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. Th e 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."
"As part of the transaction, The Coca-Cola Company will also acquire SABMiller's Appletiser brands on a worldwide basis"
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."
Details of the transaction
In a transaction to be completed in two phases, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa 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
- 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
- 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 initially produce and distribute Coca-Cola beverages in nine countries: 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.
Phases of the transaction and closing conditions
In Phase I:
- SABMiller will contribute its Coca-Cola bottling franchise (ABI) and Appletiser bottling businesses in South Africa, together with its soft drinks businesses in Comoros and Mayotte, as well as its water businesses in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.
- GFI will contribute Coca-Cola Fortune in South Africa and its other African Coca-Cola bottling businesses in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Uganda.
- The Coca-Cola Company will contribute its South Af rican soft drinks bottling businesses, Coca-Cola Canners, Valpré, and Coca-Cola Shanduka Beverages. Completion of Phase I is subject to a number of customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals in South Africa and other African jurisdictions, and is expected to complete within the next 6-9 months.
- Coca-Cola Beverages Africa's results will be fully consolidated into SABMiller plc's financial statements. The Coca-Cola Company will equity account for its stake in Coca-Cola Beverages Africa.
In Phase II:
- SABMiller intends to contribute its Swaziland soft drinks bottling business, and the soft drinks bottling businesses of its listed subsidiaries in Botswana and Zambia to Coca-Cola Beverages Africa.
Completion of Phase II is subject to a number of customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals and requisite shareholder approvals, and is expected to complete 12-18 months after the completion of Phase I.