Bloomberg News

Diageo Eyes 50% of Ethiopia Beer Market With Meta Abo Purchase

January 10, 2012

    Jan. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Diageo Plc, the world’s biggest liquor maker, wants to boost its share of Ethiopia’s beer market to 50 percent from the current 15 percent as it completes the acquisition of a state-owned brewery in the Horn of Africa nation.   The purchase of Meta Abo Brewery, which produces Meta and Meta Premium beers, for $225 million was first announced by the Ethiopian privatization agency in October.

“We would like to grow this business massively and beat the competition,” Ekwunife Okoli, Diageo’s head of African regional markets, told reporters at the brewery in Sebeta, 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the capital, Addis Ababa.

The U.K.-based company, which produces Guinness beer, Smirnoff vodka and Johnnie Walker whisky, will invest “to build capacity to meet demand,” said Diageo’s Africa president, Nick Blazquez. Diageo may introduce its other products to the Ethiopian market, he said.

Ethiopia’s beer market may grow by more than 10 percent each year to 2015 amid the country’s rising economic growth, the company said in a statement. The economy of Africa’s second-most populous nation will expand between 6 percent and 8 percent over the same period, according to the International Monetary Fund

Meta’s former huge popularity and Ethiopia’s “growing middle class” means Diageo may double sales in three years, said Francis Agbonlahor, managing director for the country. He declined to provide specific figures.

--Editors: Emily Bowers, Hilton Shone

To contact the reporter on this story: William Davison in Addis Ababa via Accra at ebowers1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net -0- Jan/10/2012 17:40 GMT


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