Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Heineken Buys 5 Breweries in Nigeria

Heineken NV, the world's third-largest brewer, acquired controlling interests in five breweries in Nigeria, expanding its capacity by nearly a third in the fast-growing African market.

The acquisition would bring additional capacity of 3,7-million hectolitres to alleviate capacity constraints in the market and to improve the geographic spread of its production.

Heineken, the largest brewer in Western Europe, has been steadily increasing its presence in faster growing developing economies, notably with last year's purchase of the beer business of Mexico's Femsa.

Heineken, which currently has a capacity of about 12-million hectolitres in Nigeria, said in a statement that it had bought two holding companies from drinks and packaging group Sona Group, Nigeria, for an undisclosed amount.

This had given it controlling stakes in the Sona, IBBI, Benue, Life and Champion breweries, which currently brew brands such as Goldberg, Williams Dark Ale and Malta Gold.

Heineken in 2009 had a share of 64% of the 16,5-million hectolitre Nigerian beer market, the second largest market in Africa and growing at an annual rate of 9% in the 10 years to 2009.

"This important move reflects Heineken's strategy of increasing our exposure to and growth from developing markets. Nigeria is one of the world's most exciting beer markets and one of the most important countries for Heineken," Heineken's Africa and Middle East chief Tom de Man said. -- Reuters