On its second day of trading in Botswana, the Coca-Cola Beverages Botswana’s (CCBB) leadership addressed the press at Town Lodge in Gaborone on Tuesday to assure stakeholders that they will continue and improve on the brand’s legacy locally.
Proclaiming ‘Coca Cola is back’, Norton Kingwill – the newly-appointed managing director for CCBA’s Southern Africa region – said they are eager to reconnect with local consumers and improve service delivery to them. They will also be seeking ways through which they would source raw materials for their products locally or empower those eager to start such productions, he said.
CCBB came out of the company’s acquisition of Beverage Manufacturers (Botswana) (Pty) Ltd, with regulatory approvals meaning that they formally commenced their operations locally on Monday – November 26, 2018.
Kingwill confirmed that all jobs were safe and that all management positions for the local operation will be occupied by locals in the exception of the position of Operations Director. This position is held by Kenyan Richard Muturi.
Kingwill faced questions on sugar tax, since some of their products are seen as health hazard due to the high percentage of sugar content. President Mokgweetsi Masisi recently touched on the issue in his state of the nation address (SONA), saying: “Among the contributing factors to the high prevalence of overweight and obesity is the increased consumption of sugar sweetened products, especially beverages. Government will be considering options to reduce consumption of these products”.
He had an answer for this. “We are prepared to engage with Government and all stakeholders on this matter – this is the elephant in the room. We will find a common ground,” he declared, having pointed to their zero products as part of their efforts of reducing and eliminating sugar from their offerings.
He was unassuming about the existing competitors that offer similar products, saying they will focus on making their products better and appealing to consumers while improving service. “Competition is a necessary reality. Our focus is on the consumer and all our efforts will go towards that,” he said.
He highlighted that one of their key areas would be to have a strong process of developing people – their employees while providing new products.
Coca-Cola Beverages Africa Proprietary Limited (CCBA) acquired Beverage Manufacturers (Botswana) (Pty) Ltd and commenced operations effective, 26 November 2018.
With this acquisition, the non-alcoholic ready-to-drink business, Beverages Manufacturers (Pty) Limited will now trade as Coca-Cola Beverages Botswana (CCBB). In terms of the sale agreement, CCBA acquires 50.1% of Beverage Manufacturers (Botswana) (Pty) Ltd. The balance of 49.9% in Beverages Manufacturers (Pty) Limited will be owned by Sechaba Brewery Holdings Ltd (Sechaba), a listed company in Botswana.
This acquisition by CCBA adds one more plant to its footprint on the continent – in the capital, Gaborone. CCBA bottles and distributes beverages whose trademarks are owned by The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) or TCCC’s affiliated entities and is the world’s 8th largest Coca-Cola bottler by revenue. Including the Botswana acquisition, CCBA now has over 15 000 employees across its operations in Africa with 31 bottling plants in 11 countries. There will be no retrenchments as a result of the merger in Botswana and the shareholder terms will be maintained.
Commenting on the transaction, CCBA International Division managing director, Jacques Vermeulen said, “The acquisition makes perfect sense both for us and for consumers in Botswana. We see a compelling long-term growth opportunity for non-alcoholic ready-to-drink beverages in Botswana.
“This acquisition of Beverages Manufacturers (Pty) Limited will allow us to share best practices and improve our service for both the formal and informal markets and at the same time, accelerate innovation. It will also allow us to achieve enhanced efficiencies which, in turn, will mean an improved and more seamless service for customers,” said Vermeulen.
The creation of CCBA in 2016 was designed to advance a consolidated, more successful Coca-Cola system in Africa and create more shared opportunities for the business and communities served across the value-chain, including local suppliers and retailers.