SABMiller to invest USD 2.5bn in Africa in 5 years.

By bne IntelliNews April 18, 2012
SABMiller, the worlds second-biggest brewer, plans to invest up to USD 2.5bn in Africa over the next five years to build new and upgrade existing breweries, in a bid to satisfy growing demand for beer on the continent, Business Day reported. "We are still looking at around USD 400 to USD 500m a year for the next three to five years," SABMillers managing director for Africa, Mark Bowman, was quoted as telling the Reuters Africa Investment Summit. He added that there was an attractive growth in markets outside South Africa, so the company would need to invest in order to be ahead of demand. The brewer, which is listed in London and Johannesburg, intends to build two to three breweries a year across the continent, where some breweries are running at or near full capacity. The average annual beer consumption in Africa stands at some 8l per person, which is well below the about 70l in North America and Europe, suggesting that few Africans can afford the beverage, which is seen as a status symbol. "Commercial beer signifies reaching some sort of level of status as opposed to drinking a home-brewed beer like chibuku," said Bowman. According to Bowman, with affordable prices, commercial beer consumption per capita could reach as much as 30l over the next 15 to 20 years in most of the African markets (outside South Africa). SabMiller plans to boost its production of affordable beer by using local ingredients such as cassava and sorghum, instead of the more expensive barley.

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