Coke buys AB InBev out of Africa’s soft drink market

In line with other divestments following the purchase of SABMiller and as already announced before (, AB InBev has sold now its 54.5% equity stake in Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) for 3.15 billion USD to The Coca-Cola Company. CCBA includes operations in South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Ghana, Mayotte and Comoros. The transaction follows a change of control clause in CCBA which Coca Cola obtained when it formed the company with SABMiller and the South African owners of bottler Coca-Cola Sabco in 2014.

In addition, AB InBev and Coca Cola have reached an agreement in principle for the sale of AB InBev’s interest in bottling operations in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, El Salvador and Honduras for an undisclosed amount.

Coca Cola wants to temporarily hold the bottling operations until they can be franchised to third parties. "We look forward to refranchising these territories as soon as practical following regulatory approval," said Coke Chief Executive Muhtar Kent in a statement.

Kent is well aware of the fact that The Coca Cola Company is on top of the list of next purchases of AB InBev boss Carlos Brito, after there is little room left for a meaningful further growth of AB InBev in the beer market. To keep AB InBev at an arm’s length is for Kent supposedly also the reason for the repurchase of the African bottling operations.

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