ZIMBABWE – African Distillers Limited (Afdis), manufacture, distributor and marketer of branded wines, ciders and spirits in Zimbabwe, has reported a 57% growth in revenue in the third quarter ended December 2021.

Revenue for the nine months period jumped by 52%, driven by volume growth emanating from firm demand over the festive season.

According to the alcohol beverage maker, the company registered a sales volume growth of 32% for the quarter and 48% for the nine months compared to the same prior year period.

Wines volume grew by 67% mainly driven by 4th Street due to improved availability and affordability following the local production project which was commissioned in the quarter under review.

Meanwhile, spirits and ready to drink (RTD) volumes grew 17% and 41% respectively. The growth in these categories was curtailed by supply constraints caused by glass pack shortages in the region.

The trading environment for the quarter under review is said to have been stable and the relaxation of COVID -19 lockdown restrictions resulted in increased economic activity.

Consumers spend was further improved by increased activity in the key sectors of the economy such as agriculture, mining and infrastructure projects.

The country however experienced a fourth wave of COVID-19 towards the tail end of the quarter which resulted in some disruptions to business operations as it led to higher employee absenteeism during periods of high infections.

In a bid to ensure continuous supply of imported inputs and contain supply chain costs, the company leveraged on foreign currency generated from trade.

Afdis impacted by glass shortage

Despite the growth, the distributor of Savannah and Hunters cider is currently facing a shortage of cider bottles owing to limited supply from its South African supplier.

The shortage of bottles comes at a time when Afdis is setting up a cider fermentation plant in Harare at a cost of US$1m.

“We are at an advanced stage of completing our cider plant which is scheduled to be completed in the next coming weeks.

“The US$1m is mainly for hunters dry and hunters’ gold but other ciders can also be processed in that plant to cut costs,” said AfDIS managing director, Stanley Muchenje.

The shortage of glass packaging is currently a common phenomenon in the Southern African region as Distell switched to can packaging for its Savanna cider brand.

The cider has only been sold in bottles since its launch in 1996, but Distell, has been struggling with a “severe” glass shortage in South Africa, which forced it to consider cans.

Glass supplies have been a problem in the country since last year when large glass manufacturers had to shut their furnaces during the peak of hard lockdown and amid alcohol sales bans.

For example, Consol lost more than 100 000 tons, or 12% of its total output.

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