Delta Corporation’s lager beer sales have driven up revenue by 40 percent in Zimbabwe. Photo: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)
INTERNATIONAL - Zimbabwean are consuming more beer despite the current cold winter season and tough economic conditions, with the country’s biggest brewer and Anheuser-Busch InBev associate unit, Delta Corporation, saying yesterday that lager-beer sales volumes for the quarter to June increased by 56percent.

This helped to drive up revenue by 40percent in a Zimbabwean market that is cash-parched.

The adoption of digital payment methods has helped to curb transaction bottlenecks, although parallel market currency rates have spiked, with about R100 fetching $12 through bank transfer or mobile money.

But for Delta, the adoption of digital payments across most outlets has helped to propel its performance.

Delta also manufactures Chibuku sorghum-based beer, as well as soft drink beverages under licence from the Coca-Cola Company.

“Lager beer volume is up 56percent over the prior year for the quarter, matching the historical peak run rates post-dollarisation (2009). While product supply is largely stable, imported inputs remain a constraint,” the company said in a trading update.

Revenue shot up by 40percent. The company said all categories had registered revenue growth in spite of a decline in volumes for other categories.

Alex Makamure, the company secretary for Delta, confirmed that the brewery concern, which now has key interests in Zambia’s National Breweries, would pay $25.2million (R334.5m) in dividends for the current year.

“Notice is hereby given that the board of directors has declared an interim dividend of 2cents per share payable in respect of all qualifying ordinary shares of the company, to be paid out of the profits for the current financial year,” he said.

Delta enjoys a dominant position in the Zimbabwe beverage industry, but also battles against imported products. In the soft drinks category, there is growing competition from Barum Beverages, which has set up a plant for Pepsi products in Harare.

However, this has not yet disrupted Delta’s market positioning, as its soft drink volumes increased by 23percent during the period under review compared with the same period a year earlier. But this category has not been without its challenges, the company said, confirming the market had recently suffered shortages of its products.

The sorghum-based opaque beer under Chibuku and Chibuku Super, however, declined by 23percent for the period. The Chibuku category declined by five percent, mainly because of “shortages of packaging material”.

- BUSINESS REPORT