ESWATINI – Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) has acquired 60 percent shareholding in  the soft drinks business of Eswatini Beverages.

The non-alcoholic ready-to-drink business in Eswatini, in which the remaining 40 percent is owned by Sovereign wealth fund Tibiyo Taka Ngwane, will be known as Eswatini Coca-Cola Beverages (ECCB) and will operate as a subsidiary of CCBA.

ECCB country manager Sanele Khumalo said every effort would be made to minimise disruption to customers.

ECCB has appointed Logico Unlimited as the official distributor of all Coca-Cola products in Eswatini.

Logico Unlimited will be responsible for the collection of monies owed, while ECCB will be responsible for the negotiations of trading terms and relationships with customers.

“Eswatini customers will benefit from being part of a consolidated, successful Coca-Cola ecosystem that spans the continent, creating new opportunities for everyone across the value chain,” Khumalo said in a statement.

“Access to shared best practices will enhance efficiencies and a better distribution capability will provide pervasive availability of cold beverages to end-customers. We will also be able to respond to consumer demand more quickly.”

“Expanding our African footprint brings huge benefits to local consumers and businesses. By leveraging scale, we can do more for our customers and also drive our sustainability goals. The creation of ECCB is another milestone in that strategy,” Khumalo added.

The deal was signed on 5 October 2018, and all the necessary regulatory approvals have been obtained.

CCBA was formed in 2016 through the combination of the African non-alcoholic ready-to-drink bottling interests of SABMiller, The Coca-Cola Company and Gutsche Family Investments.

AB InBev later acquired SABMiller and reached an agreement to transfer AB InBev’s 54.5% equity stake in CCBA to Coca-Cola. 

Earlier this year, The Coca-Cola Company said that it will retain its majority stake in CCBA for the foreseeable future, despite previously announcing its intention to refranchise the African bottler.

CCBA has since then continued to consolidate its soft beverage bottling operations in Africa.

In December last year, CCBA acquired its Coca-Cola bottling business from Zambia Breweries, a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev.

In June, CCBA entered into an agreement to acquire stakes in two Kenyan Coca-Cola franchise bottlers from public investment company, Centum Investments in a US$192.5 million valuation.

Coca-Cola Beverages Africa is the 8th largest Coca-Cola bottling partner in the world by revenue and the largest on the continent. It accounts for 40 percent of all Coca-Cola products sold in Africa by volume.

The company’s African footprint now encompasses South Africa, Ghana, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, Mozambique, Comoros, Mayotte, Zambia, Botswana and Eswatini. It employs more than 16,000 people directly, almost half of them in South Africa.