ZAMBIA – Zambian Breweries has finalised the sale of its Coca-Cola bottling business to Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA), as CCBA continues its journey to consolidate its soft beverage bottling operations in Africa.

Zambia Breweries, which a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), the largest brewer in the world, is Zambia’s leading beer producer with such brands as Mosi, Castle, Carling Black Label, Eagle, Stella Artois and Budweiser.

The move by CCBA paves the way for Zambia Breweries to focus fully on its clear beer operations.

With the acquisition, the soft drinks business of Zambia Breweries has been transferred to Kalundu Beverages Limited, trading as Coca-Cola Beverages Zambia.

Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, Managing Director for Southern Africa region, Norton Kingwill, told Zambia Reports that the acquisition aims to drive long-term sustainable growth, leverage scale and build capabilities to accelerate sustainable growth.

Mr. Kingwill, added that the acquisition by CCBA adds two more plants to its footprint on the continent – one in Ndola and one in the capital, Lusaka, and that no employee is expected to lose their jobs in the process.

The current transaction follows shareholder and regulatory approval and is part of Coca-Cola’s wider restructuring of its bottling and distribution business across Africa. 

Under the agreement, identified employees have all received letters of employment from CCBA’s new company.

“I am very pleased that throughout this process we were able to keep everyone’s jobs and believe that the new company’s focus on soft drinks with CCBA at its helm will be beneficial for the growth of the soft drinks category in Zambia,” said Zambia Breweries country director Jose Moran.

Under the deal, Zambian Breweries will continue to manufacture and bottle Coca-Cola soft drinks under a “co-packaging” contract with Coca-Cola Beverages Zambia (CCBZ).

CCBZ will now distribute and market its brands across Zambia. 

The Coca-Cola Company acquired the 54.5% stake held by former brewing giant SABMiller in early 2017, after AB InBev bought out Africa’s largest brewing company in 2016, one of the world’s biggest food industry acquisitions.

CCBA was created in November 2014 by the merger of Coca-Cola’s South African operations with SABMiller’s non-alcoholic Southern African operations and Coca-Cola Sabco. 

It has operations in South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Ghana, Mayotte and Comoros and Ghana.

As part of the process, Coke and AB InBev also reached a separate agreement in principle for Coca-Cola to acquire AB InBev’s interest in bottling operations in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, El Salvador and Honduras.