NIGERIA – Global beer behemoth Anheuser-Busch InBev has said it is committed to a long-term investment in Nigeria.

This was as the firm announced in a press conference in Lagos on Wednesday, the construction of a new brewery in the country, located in Sagamu, Ogun State, at a cost of over $250 million.

The company noted that the new brewery which is expected to be completed in 2018 would be its second largest in Africa and a testament to its long-term view of the country.

Speaking on the company’s activities in Nigeria, Mrs. Annabelle Degroot, Managing Director-designate, International Breweries Plc (IBPlc), said: “We are investing in a fourth brewery, a large brewery outside of Lagos, in the Sagamu area that will come on line next year and it’s our largest brewery in Africa outside of South Africa.

The MD designate, who came to Nigeria in September, after being the Country Manager for Zambian Breweries, an AB InBev subsidiary, said that the company will increase foreign direct investment into the country, introduce some of its world-class beers into the market, and also show the world that African beers have something unique to offer.

“The exciting news is that we will be introducing some new brands, so we are very proud of our Hero brand and our Trophy brand, and those brands will grow because we like to focus on local, great brands.

“But we will be introducing some excitement into the market next year. Some of you might know that Budweiser is the official sponsor of the World Cup, the great news, Nigeria being in the World Cup so we will be bringing Budweiser to Nigeria next year,” she said.

On the ongoing merger of its subsidiaries in the country – namely Ilesha-based International Breweries Plc, Intafact Beverages Limited based in Onitsha and Port-Harcourt-based Pabod Breweries Limited, Degroot said the combined entity would be known as International Breweries Plc, as it is the name the company has listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

However, she noted that the name would be changed in 2018 to reflect the combined entities.

“We will list as International Breweries, it has been agreed by the board of the new company that we will choose a new name that will reflect the combination of the three and that name will be changed subsequently in the New Year, in 2018.”

Degroot said that significant progress has been made with regards to the ongoing merger, noting that it was now in the final stages of the process, which is expected to be concluded sometime in December.

She stressed that the enlarged company will be one of the largest beverage manufacturing and distribution firms in Nigeria, based on installed capacity.

Currently, IBPlc and Pabod Breweries each have an installed capacity of 1.5 million hectoliters, while Intafact Beverages Limited has an installed capacity of 2.7 million hectoliters.

Mrs. Degroot said that alongside the build-up, the company will be consolidating and expanding its existing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities in the country.

Beverage Industry News NG