Coca-Cola bottles African stake from ABInbev


The Coca-Cola Company's successful bid to dismantle a recycling initiative in Australia's Northern Territory, has consumers and conservationists up in arms (AFP picture)

BRUSSELS - Soft drinks giant Coca-Cola has agreed to pay more than $3-billion to recently-merged AB InBev for control of Africa's biggest soft drinks bottling company, both companies said Wednesday.

On merging with SABMiller in September, Belgian-Brazilian giant AB InBev found itself with 54.5 percent in Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) and Coca-Cola said in October it would exercise its pre-emptive rights on the stake.

CCBA runs operations in South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Ghana, Mayotte and Comoros.

Coca-Cola will pay $3.15-billion for the stake in CCBA which was formed as a joint venture between Coca-Cola and SABMiller in 2014, becoming Africa's biggest soft drinks bottler accounting for about 40 percent of the continent's Coca-Cola sales.

Coca-Cola said it also agreed to buy AB InBev's bottling operations in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, El Salvador and Honduras for an undisclosed amount.

The US giant only intends, however, to hold on these operations temporarily "until they can be refranchised to other partners", the statement said.

It is already talking to some "highly-qualified" candidates to take over the territories "as soon as practical".

The takeover of the CCBA stake is to be completed by the end of next year.