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SAB takes Namibia’s beer market competition head-on

afrol News, 23 April - Communities of the northern regions of Namibia will become direct shareholders in the new venture announced by SABMiller to increase its market share in the country.

SABMiller has announced it is putting up a $34 million brewing facility with a 220,000 hectolitre capacity in the northern part of the country, some 70kms from the capital, Windhoek.

The company has said the project is expected to kick-start in the second half of this year, with 40 percent of the stake being taken by local ventures.

“The new brewery will be owned by a venture in which SABMiller will own a 60% stake and local partners the remainder as part of a black empowerment initiative. The company said as part of black economic empowerment there will be 20% ownership by Onyewu Investments and 20% by three charitable trusts working on behalf of communities in the Omaheke, Karas and Northern regions of Namibia,” the company explained in a statement today.

It further said the brewery will produce the Castle and Castle Lite brands, and include a returnable bottle packaging line and warehousing facilities.

The announcement by the SABMiller follows on the Namibian competitors’ expansion into the South African market recently.

Namibia Breweries last month officially opened the Sedibeng brewery south of Johannesburg (South Africa) with European partners Heineken NV and Diageo PLC, brewing its Windhoek lager alongside Heineken, Amstel and Smirnoff Storm and Spin blended drinks. The three have been gaining market share at the premium end of South Africa’s beer market, strongly challenging the SABMiller’s dominant hold.

"We have been importing beer into Namibia for over 20 years and such a significant investment symbolises our current optimism in the country," said Cobus Bruwer, SABMiller’s country representative.

He said SABMiller currently has an estimated 22 percent local market share in Namibia with brands such as Castle, Carling Black Label and Peroni Nastro Azzuro.

Namibia is said to be one of the biggest beer markets in the Southern African region, especially because of its ties and influence of the German tradition.

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