AB InBev brewing associate in Zimbabwe posts profit up 27 pct

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HARARE, May 9 (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s largest brewer Delta Corporation reported a 27 percent jump in full-year profit to $89 million on Wednesday, after strong sales of beer and soft drinks in the second half of its financial year.

Delta, which is 40 percent owned by Anheuser-Busch Inbev, said revenue increased to $572 million during the year that ended in March, up from $483 million previously.

Lager beer sales, which accounted for the most revenue, were at their strongest since 2014, while volumes of the cheaper sorghum beer rose for the sixth straight year.

The company increased its final dividend payment by 32 percent to 7.20 U.S. cents, its highest since Zimbabwe dumped its own currency for the U.S. dollar in 2009.

Delta Managing Director Pearson Gowero told an analyst briefing that foreign currency shortages were hurting supplies of some packaging materials and the company might not be able to meet demand.

Zimbabwe is in the grip of U.S. dollar shortages that have curbed imports and seen some companies, including mines, unable to pay for imports on time.

Delta is struggling to repatriate $46 million to foreign creditors and $15 million in accumulated dividends to outside shareholders due to the currency shortages, said Gowero.