The worldâ€™s giant and oldest soft drink company Coca-Cola has sealed a deal to trade with the Lesotho alcohol manufacturing company, Maluti Mountain Brewery (MMB).
The soft drink company started their delivery two days before its 135th year anniversary on May 8. The agreement however was inked in 6 October, 2020.
According to the Country Manager of Coca Cola Beverages Lesotho (CCBL), TÅ¡epo Maketela, the deal engaged the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) and the Ministry of Finance as shareholders.
Maketela said the Atlanta founded Company approached MMB to enquire about an interest in the soft drinks business. He said the pact allows non-alcoholic people to enjoy the drink.
â€œThe non-alcoholic, ready to drink business in Lesotho will be referred to as Coca-Cola Beverages Lesotho (CCBL) and will operate as a subsidiary of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA), with management control. The entity will commence distributing Coca-Cola products from 10 May 2021 and details will be communicated to all customers,â€ he said.
He said every effort will be made to minimise any disruptions to customers. â€œWe are committed to growing the soft drinks industry and the business in Lesotho and will endeavour to launch new products into the Lesotho market to meet consumer needs. We are also excited to partner with LNDC.
â€œLesotho customers will benefit from being part of a consolidated, successful Coca-Cola system that spans 13 other markets on the continent, creating new opportunities for everyone across the value chain,â€ Maketela said.
â€œAccess to shared best practices will enhance efficiencies and a better distribution capability will provide pervasive availability of cold beverages to end-customers,â€ he said, adding that they are going to be able to respond to consumersâ€™ demand more quickly.â€
CCBA is the 8th largest Coca-Cola bottling partner in the world by revenue, and the largest on the continent. It accounts for 40 percent of all Coca-Cola products sold in Africa by volume.
CCBAâ€™s African footprint incorporates South Africa, Ghana, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, Mozambique, Comoros, Mayotte, Zambia, Botswana, Eswatini and now Lesotho. The group employs more than 16 000 people directly, almost half of them in South Africa.
â€œExpanding our African footprint brings huge benefits to local consumers and businesses. By leveraging scale, we can do more for our customers and drive our sustainability goals. The creation of CCBL is another milestone in that strategy,â€ Maketela said.
He said CCBA bottles and distributes beverages whose trademarks are owned by The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) or TCCCâ€™s affiliated entities. CCBA has over 16 000 employees across its operations in Africa with more than 40 bottling plants in 14 countries.
CCBA began its operations as a legal entity from July 2016 having been created as a direct result of a merger between non-alcoholic ready to drink bottling operations of The Coca-Cola Company, (then) SABMiller and Gutsche Family Investments.
CCBA boasts a diverse Pan-African footprint servicing over 650 000 outlets that serve a combined population of over 300 million people across the continent.