Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) is readying new African operations as the world’s largest brewer continues its expansion in Africa after the blockbuster takeover of SABMiller.
AB InBev intends to open its first brewery in Mozambique in the second half of next year after starting production in Nigeria later this month, CEO Carlos Brito told reporters in Johannesburg late on Tuesday. The Belgium-based company has also agreed to build a $100m brewery in Tanzania, and is in discussions about tax policy in the East African country, he said.
The world’s largest brewers, including AB-InBev and rival Heineken, are investing in Africa is to take advantage of rising beer consumption in the world’s least developed continent. Jorge Paulo Lemann, one of AB InBev’s billionaire shareholders, said last year that the continent’s rapid urbanisation and warm climate could eventually see it overtake the US in beer sales.
“We are very excited about building in Africa,” Brito said after meeting investors and analysts in Johannesburg. “Where others see risk we see opportunity.”
AB InBev cited Africa as a significant factor in the decision to buy Johannesburg-listed SABMiller in a deal that created the world’s largest brewer. The company has sought to expand the availability of signature brands, such as Budweiser and Stella Artois, while retaining a commitment to SAB’s best sellers, such as Castle Lite lager.
The new Nigerian brewery will see the firm become the second largest producer in Africa’s most popular country, behind Heineken’s Nigerian Breweries. In Mozambique, the planned brewery will have capacity of 2-million hectolitres.