Coca-Cola Eyes More Consolidation in Africa

Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, the largest bottling unit of Coca-Cola on the African continent, is examining ways to consolidate the parent company’s bottling operations on the continent, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

The Atlanta-based company operates in 14 countries across the continent, making it the eighth-largest bottling company in the world. 

Its acquisition spree since 2017 has brought bottling operations in Zambia, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, South Africa, and other smaller countries into its fold, creating a $3.2 billion behemoth by 2021.

CCBA CEO Jacques Vermeulen told investors that CCBA believes in one bottler, one country as that is the only way to win in Africa.

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The company is open to brand acquisitions and partnerships with other beverage makers on the continent, he said, adding that organic growth is second in importance only to consolidation.

According to Coca-Cola, the company plans to list CCBA over the next 18 months, depending on market conditions. A primary listing would be in Amsterdam, with a secondary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

Further information on the initial public offering was not disclosed by Vermeulen.

CCBA could rank among the top 40 companies on the local stock exchange based on its revenue.

The company has outpaced most other Coca-Cola bottling units in volumes, however, sales declined during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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According to Norton Kingwill, Chief Financial Officer, the company has returned to double-digit top-line growth and has almost fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels.

CCBA’s parent company, Coca-Cola, will report full-year 2021 results in February.

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