Coke’s taste for Africa

Kabelo Adamson
PACKED: Coca-Cola products
  • Coca-Cola focused on growing African footprint
  • Company set to invest P600 million in Botswana in next five years

Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) is committed to growing its African footprint.

This was reiterated by the company’s Southern Region Manager, Norton Kingwill, who was speaking during Monday’s re-launch of Returnable Glass Bottles (RGB) and can lines by Coca-Cola Beverages Botswana (CCBB).

He explained that the multinational company acquired a number of franchises in Asia which they have subsequently sold in order to focus on growing the African business.

Last November, CCBA announced the acquisition of Beverage Manufacturers (Botswana) (Pty) Limited, acquiring 50.1 percent shares of the non-alcoholic drink business with 49.9 percent being acquired by Sechaba Breweries Holdings Limited (SBHL).

On the eve of their one-year anniversary, Kingwill says CCBB has made significant strides, with early efforts centred on rebuilding customer and consumer confidence.

Initially, the transition process resulted in a serious shortage of coca-cola products in the market.

However, Kingwill says the situation has been addressed.

“We had to make sure people could find the beverage that they wanted and we have made significant progress in that area,” he noted, adding they also had to build the confidence of suppliers and shareholders.

Although he feels the best is yet to come, Kingwill revealed that since CCBA’s takeover, the top line has grown by 30 percent against the prior year.

“This far exceeded our expectations! The opportunity that we have seen in this market has really been great and we feel we still have a lot of opportunities to grow this business,” he said.

By re-launching the can and glass bottle lines, Kingwill says the products will also be exported to Namibia, making CCBB a manufacturing hub for can and glass bottles, which were previously sourced from South Africa.

“The significance of that is really about making sure that we have continuity of supply,” he said, emphasising CCBB is now in charge of its own destiny in terms of cans and glass bottle supply.

Looking forward, Kingwill says Coca-Cola intend to invest heavily in Botswana.

“Over the next five years, our investment plan and infrastructure and capacity would be in order of P600 million.”

Meanwhile, Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Bogolo Kenewendo described CCBB’s investment as a welcome development towards Botswana’s industrialisation agenda.

“Coca-Cola Beverages and Coca-Cola Beverages Botswana have given us a sense of confidence in that it is reliable and credible partner that we too can invest in given all the commitment that you set for yourselves a few months ago,” said Kenewendo.

The Minister noted that the figures announced by the company to grow the business will reflect on the lives of Batswana through job creation and continued supply.

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