Zimbabweans consume more beer despite economic crunch

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Zimbabweans are consuming more beer despite a biting economic crunch, with Delta Corporation – the associate unit of AB InBev – this week saying that lager beer volumes for the half year to June went up 11% while revenues rose 2%, translating to an interim dividend of 2.25 cents per share.
Delta Corp, which has the highest market capitalisation on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, is the biggest brewer and soft drinks maker in the country.
The company’s secretary  Alex Makamure said Delta Corp had turned the corner for the better in spite of a liquidity crunch obtaining in the country.
He said the company has however not completely escaped Zimbabwe’s cash shortages as the Chibuku category, whose sales volumes declined by four percent for the quarter “was particularly impacted by transactional challenges in the rural” areas.
Delta Corp is happy that there is some “trading up to lager beer in some markets” that previously relied on the cheaper sorghum based Chibuku category.  The loss in Chibuku could have helped the lager beer volumes climb up.
“Lager beer volumes grew 11 percent above prior year for both the quarter and the six months with a mix in favor of value packs and brands benefiting from improved disposable incomes driven by agriculture and small scale mining,” Makamure said.
Delta is among the favourites on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and in the trade session on Wednesday, it ranked alongside Econet and Innscor as major attractions on the bourse. This week the company declared an interim dividend of 2.25 cents per share. Delta however said that it was sitting on cash in dividends that it had failed to remit to foreign shareholders although it had decided to re-invest the money into the business through buying of raw materials and equipment.
For the half year period, revenue is up by two percent after its soft drinks business saw a marginal volume decline of one percent for the quarter while the category closed the half year flat. Delta Corp did not release finer financial figures for the half year period, saying its interim financial statement will be released next month. – IOL