MALAWI – Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA), the largest Coca-Cola bottler in Africa, has officially commenced operations in Malawi following the closing of the acquisition transaction of Castel’s soft drinks business.

The acquisition of Southern Bottlers Limited, commonly referred to as SOBO was undertaken through CCBA’s local subsidiary Coca-Cola Beverages Limited (CCBL).   

SOBO produces Coca-Cola, Fanta, Sprite, Cherry Plum, Cocopina, SOBO Squash and several others brands in the South African market.

Jacques Vermeulen, CCBA CEO said, “We see a compelling long-term growth opportunity in Malawi that will benefit our business as well as consumers in this market.

“Furthermore, it will allow us to share best practices and achieve enhanced efficiencies which, in turn, will mean an improved and more seamless service for customers.”

The creation of CCBA in 2016 was designed to advance a consolidated, more successful Coca-Cola system in Africa and create more shared opportunities for the business and communities across the value-chain, including local suppliers and retailers.

The addition of Malawi, spreads CCBA’s footprint across the region which initially included South Africa, Ghana, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, Mozambique, Comoros, Mayotte, Zambia, Botswana, Eswatini and Lesotho.

Said Norton Kingwill, CCBA’s CFO said, “CCBA’s aim is to leverage our scale and build capabilities that accelerate sustainable growth. We believe this acquisition aligns very well with that ambition.”

The acquisition of the Malawian unit from the French beverage maker is part of the parties’ agreement to cease their distribution partnership in Africa that spanned nearly 25 years.

Other affected businesses are located in Gabon, Angola, Egypt, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon.

CCBA has also strengthened its business presence in Uganda through consolidation of its two bottling subsidiaries, Century Bottling Company Limited (CBC) and Rwenzori Bottling Company Limited (RBC) to form a single operating entity under the name Coca-Cola Beverages Uganda Limited (CCBU).

The amalgamation is aimed at improving the Uganda operations by streamlining management of the business and improving efficiencies through standardised processes, optimised costs and increased service levels.

The cashless transaction has seen all CBC employees transferring over to RBC, which has now been renamed Coca-Cola Beverages Uganda.

“This is the final step in a process to create one Coca-Cola Beverages Uganda and consolidate our resources to drive growth and benefit for our employees, customers, consumers and the wider communities in which we operate, with increased efficiency and opportunities to make Africa a better continent for all,” said General Manager, Melkamu Abebe.

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