Ethiopia: Diageo completes brewery acquisition

Diageo has completed the acquisition of the Meta Abo Brewery in Ethiopia for US$225 million.

The acquisition was made after a competitive tender process, which was held on behalf of the government of Ethiopia.

Nick Blazquez, president, Diageo Africa, said: “Meta is a strong national brand that has great heritage in Ethiopia. We will invest behind the long-term growth of the brand, the Meta business, and the wider communities in Ethiopia.

“Over the past five years, Diageo has invested more than GBP 1 billion in building its businesses in Africa, and we will continue to look at opportunities to expand our footprint, grow our brands and secure strong routes to market.”

Meta Brewery is the second largest beer company in Ethiopia with a volume share of approximately 15% (Access Capital 2011). From its brewery near the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, it produces and distributes  lager brands Meta and Meta Premium.

According to Access Capital 2011, the beer market in Ethiopia is estimated to continue to grow at “more than 10% per annum to 2015, driven by strong GDP growth and increased disposable incomes”. Diageo currently markets brands including Johnnie Walker scotch whisky, Smirnoff vodka and Gordon’s gin, through its representative office in Addis Ababa.

Diageo has also announced the appointment of Francis Agbonlahor as managing director for the Meta business. Francis joins from Diageo’s business in Nigeria and takes up the role with immediate effect.

Diageo will also look to extend its Water of Life initiative in Ethiopia. According to the company, the initiative currently provides access to clean drinking water for over 60,000 Ethiopians in the Kechene and Burko Gudo districts.

UK minister for trade and investment, Lord Green, said: "Sub-Saharan Africa is not only a trillion dollar market, but the IMF forecasts it will have seven of the world’s ten fastest-growing economies over the next five years. Within this market, Ethiopia represents a great opportunity, and I hope that where Diageo leads, other UK firms will follow. I congratulate Diageo on this move and I wish them every success with their investment."