SABMiller sees steady growth for Africa

Multinational brewer SABMiller sees volume growth of 8% a year in Africa, its regional head said on Tuesday, as demand is expected to continue growing on the continent.

Mark Bowman, managing director of SAB Miller Africa, also told reporters on a teleconference call that the brewer was unlikely to make any big-ticket acquisitions on the continent in the near future.

The London-based brewer expects “organic volumes” for beer and other beverages to grow at about 8% a year in Africa, he said, referring to growth excluding the impact of acquisitions or divestments.

“We’re optimistic of growth in the medium, short and long term. There are likely to be bumps along the road, because Africa is a different place to do business,” Bowman said from Miami, where he is attending an industry conference.

With increased investor interest in Africa, the continent has become “the flavour of the month” Bowman said, making it more difficult to make acquisitions.

“There’s nothing particularly on our radar at this stage and if it were, it would be quite small in nature.”

Home to about one billion people, Africa boasts dozens of fast-growing economies and an emerging middle class and is increasingly seen as the next big destination for global investment.

SABMiller beat forecasts to report a 3% rise in quarterly volumes last month, boosted by Africa and Asia. By focusing on emerging markets, the brewer has escaped the worst of the economic downturn, which hit developed markets harder. – Reuters

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