By Alois Vinga
LEADING beverages manufacturer, Delta Corporation has been forced to halt the Rusape Chibuku Plant construction as the entity cannot raise enough foreign currency to import key components needed for the project.
The entity’s corporate affairs director, Alex Makamure told delegates at a Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries meeting recently on the situation at hand.
“The brewery will be constructed in phases, starting with civil works that do not require foreign currency. The major phase is on hold due to shortage of foreign currency. The project is already behind as the company has exhausted the Chibuku Super capacity,” he said.
The new plant’s components are imported from Germany and South Africa, and have a lead time of eight months due to shipment logistics and full commissioning may take between 10 to 12 months from date of orders.
The latest development comes at a time the listed beverages manufacturer is eyeing Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev)’s Zambian and Malawian assets as the Belgian brewer exits the Sub-Saharan market.
The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange listed beverages manufacturer- which is 40 percent owned by AB InBev- in January said since the Budweiser maker was divesting out of the region, it had resolved to bid for assets available in the wake of an increasingly tough operating environment in Zimbabwe driven by foreign exchange scarcity.
In December last year, Delta Corporation revealed plans to acquire United National Breweries, the leading South African traditional beer company, which manufactures brands such as Chibuku, Leopard, Ijuba, Tlokwe and Joburg beer brands and the traditional non-alcoholic maize based energy drink under City Mageu.
In a statement, Delta said it had entered into binding agreements for the acquisition with current owners, Diageo South Africa Proprietary Limited.
Delta Corporation Limited manufactures and distributes cold beverages in Zimbabwe. The company operates through Lager Beer, Sparkling Beverages, and Sorghum Beer segments.