AB InBev completes divestment of interest in Coca-Cola Beverages Africa

Anheuser-Busch InBev announced on Wednesday that it had completed the sale of its 54.5% equity stake in Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA), the continents largest Coke bottler to The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) for $3.15bn after customary adjustments, as announced on December 21, 2016.

CCBA was formed in 2016 through the merger of SABMiller’s African non-alcoholic beverage interest with The Coca-Cola Company’s South African operations and the Gutsche Family Investments, the owners of South African-based Coca-Cola Sabco.

The combination includes bottling operations in South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Ghana, Mayotte and Comoros.

Following the big beer merger of 2016 which saw AB InBev acquire SABMiller, AB InBev by default inherited SABMIller’s ownership stake in CCBA.

TCCC announced in early October that it would exercise its change-of-control clause and acquire SABMiller’s stake in CCBA from AB InBev. There have been rumours that Coke might be AB InBev’s next acquisition target, and Coke has been doing everything possible to stay out of the beer giant’s cross-hairs.

Coke initially held 11.3% stake in CCBA with Coca-Cola Sabco and SABMiller each holding 31.7% and 57% ownership respectively. With the transfer of ownership of SABMiller’s former stake in CCBA to coke completed, the soft drinks giant now has controlling interest of 68.3% in CCBA. The Coca-Cola Company said it plans to hold its controlling interest in CCBA temporarily until it is refranchised to other bottling partners, adding that it will account for CCBA as a discontinued operation. Some of the bottling partners often mentioned as possible partners in CCBA include Heineken, Castel Group, Coca-Cola Sabco, Coca-Cola Hellenic AG (Coca-Cola HBC), Coca-Cola European Partners, Equatorial Coca-Cola.

The statement released by AB InBev said that CCBA will remain subject to the agreement reached with South African Government and the South African Competition authorities on several conditions, all of which were previously announced.

The statement further said that both companies will continue to work towards finalizing the terms and conditions of the agreement for TCCC to acquire AB InBev’s remaining interests in Coca-Cola franchises in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, El Salvador and Honduras. These transactions will be subject to the relevant regulatory and shareholder approvals in the different jurisdictions.

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