The American lager, Budweiser, considered the ‘King of beers,’ will be introduced into the Nigerian market in 2018 as part of a long term investment by the world’s largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev, the company has said.
Annabelle Degroot, the Managing Director-designate of International Breweries Plc, said at a press conference in Lagos, Wednesday, that the brewer would be completing an “over $250 million” brewery in Sagamu – its second largest in Africa – next year.
“We are investing in a fourth brewery, a large brewery outside of Lagos, in the Sagamu area that will come on line next year and it’s our largest brewery in Africa outside of South Africa,” Ms. Degroot said.
“The exciting news is that we will be introducing some new brands, so we are very proud of our Hero brand and our Trophy brand, and those brands will grow because we like to focus on local, great brands.
“But we will be introducing some excitement into the market next year. Some of you might know that Budweiser is the official sponsor of the World Cup, the great news, Nigeria being in the World Cup so we will be bringing Budweiser to Nigeria next year.”
The merger between International Breweries Plc (based in Ilesha), Intafact Breweries Ltd (based in Onitsha), and Pabod Breweries Ltd (based in Port Harcourt) – all subsidiaries of AB InBev – began last June and the final entity would be known as International Breweries Plc, according to Ms. Degroot.
“We are merging the three companies, this was initiated by the Board of Directors of Intafact and welcomed by the boards of the other two companies,” said Ms. Degroot, who arrived Nigeria in September.
“AB InBev will have the majority shareholding so we will have over 70 percent of the shares and all companies will merge into International Breweries, so Pabod and Intafact companies will be wound up and cease to exist but all assets, liabilities, and people related to those companies will merge into International Breweries.
“The merger is on track, we have received all the necessary approvals now through the courts and we intend to list the shares of the new, enlarged company on the stock exchange around mid-December.
“To begin with, the large entity will be known as International Breweries Plc, that’s the company we have currently listed on the stock exchange.
“We will list as International Breweries, it has been agreed by the board of the new company that we will choose a new name that will reflect the combination of the three and that name will be changed subsequently in the new year, in 2018.”
While International Breweries Plc, the manufacturers of Trophy beer, is the only listed company among the three in the Nigerian Stock Exchange; Intafact Breweries Ltd, the producers of Hero beer, have the largest installed capacity of 2.7 million hectolitres.
AB InBev acquired SAB Miller Nigeria, the owners of the three merging companies, last year in a deal reportedly worth $106 billion.
At least, 5,500 jobs were cut following the acquisition of SAB Miller Nigeria, according to the AFP.
But Ms. Degroot said the construction of the large brewery in Sagamu means job losses would be minimal.
“In a merger and acquisition, there is always risk of duplication, the position we are in is because we are in a growth situation, because we are adding a new brewery and therefore expanding, we have a lot of vacancies in our business both in technical and on the sales front,” she said.
“And so during the merger process there are a few heads but not a significant number of heads, we have a found a handful of heads in the duplication… but where possible we are looking for alternative vacancies in the business as part of our growth story. So rationalization is not a big part of this merger process which is good news.”