Bloomberg News

Diageo Seeks Africa Boost With Ethiopia, Angola Expansion

December 01, 2011

Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Diageo Plc, the world’s biggest distiller, is seeking to boost its market share in Africa, appointing a new regional head to expand its products in countries where it sees potential to grow.

Ekwunife Okoli, who spent two years as managing director of Diageo’s Ghanaian unit, Guinness Ghana Breweries Ltd., will become head of Africa Regional Markets on Dec. 5, an area that encompasses markets outside of Nigeria, South Africa, and the five nations of the East African Community.

“These four markets are at different levels of development and require different strategies to run,” he said in an interview in Accra yesterday.

Companies are seeking to tap into expanding economies and a growing consumer base in sub-Saharan Africa, where per capita gross national incomes rose 12 percent from 2000 to 2009 to $1,130, according to the World Bank. Gross domestic product grew 4.6 percent in the same period.

Okoli will oversee the conclusion of a $225 million purchase of Ethiopia’s Meta Abo Breweries and its popular beer of the same name. The company may introduce other products into the Ethiopian market when the takeover of the state-owned brewer is finished, he said.

Diageo plans to set up a distributing company in Angola, Africa’s second-biggest oil producer, to introduce Guinness beer, Okoli said. The drink will also be brought into Botswana and whisky and vodka into Mozambique, he said. Diageo’s products include Johnnie Walker whisky and Smirnoff vodka.

In Ghana, where it brews the popular Star lager, the company wants to increase its 25 percent share of the country’s beverage market, he said, without giving a specific target. Diageo also runs a brewery in Cameroon, where it has 17 percent of the market, Okoli said.

--Editors: Emily Bowers, Karl Maier.

To contact the reporter on this story: Moses Mozart Dzawu in Accra at mdzawu@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.


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