Coca-Cola Company pushes listing of CCBA to next year on back of tough economic environment

AFRICA – As the world economy continues to suffer from a series of destabilizing shocks, The Coca-Cola Company has hit the pause button on its plans to list Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) as a publicly traded company.

The soft-drink giant has announced it is delaying the planned initial public offering of part of its stake in the African bottler of its products, saying a rescheduled listing would depend on improved market conditions.

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The Coca-Cola company has highlighted it will continue to evaluate the macroeconomic conditions in a bid to decide future timing for an IPO in 2023.

The decision to delay the listing comes at a time of falling global equity investor sentiment as market volatility fuelled by the war in Ukraine, Covid-19 lockdowns in China, rising interest rates, a darkening economic growth outlook and roaring inflation, all weigh on risk appetite.

The planned IPO by Coca-Cola was first revealed in April 2021, with the shares to be listed in Amsterdam and Johannesburg.

The decision is in line with The Coca-Cola Company’s objective of focusing its resources on building consumer-loved brands and innovation.

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It also underscores the company’s continued and long-term belief and commitment to the African continent and the leadership of CCBA from South Africa.

Further, the move will allow CCBA to operate as an independent, Africa-focused, South African-headquartered, managed and domiciled business.

The planned IPO by Coca-Cola was first revealed in April 2021, with the shares to be listed in Amsterdam and Johannesburg.

Coca-Cola holds 66.5% of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, having paid US$3.15bn in 2016 to buy AB InBev out of the African bottling joint venture. The remaining 33.5% is held by the Gutsche Family Investments.

It tried to offload the stake a year later and drew interest from the likes of Heineken and Coca-Cola, reports said at the time.

According to Bloomberg, the Coca-Cola Company was seeking a value of US$8.1 billion (R128.4bn) for the listing of the eighth largest Coca-Cola bottling partner in the world by revenue, and the largest on the continent.

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Despite the delayed listing, Coca-Cola has been streamlining its operations in the continent as it recently parted ways with Castel Group, its long-time bottling partner in the region.

Coca-Cola has publicly announced its strategy to change bottlers in Angola, Egypt, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon, which were handled by the subsidiaries of the French beverage company.

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