THE HAGUE, Aug 12 – Dutch brewing giant Heineken announced on Thursday it had bought two breweries in Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country, in a $163-million deal (110 million euros).
“Heineken N.V. today announced that it has completed the acquisitions of the Bedele and Harar breweries from the government,” a statement said.
The two breweries employ 1,100 people and represent 18 percent of the Ethiopian beer market.
“We are delighted to have acquired these two breweries which give us a sustainable footprint in one of Africa’s most exciting beer markets,” Siep Hiemstra, Heineken’s New Africa and Middle East boss.
“The transactions reflect Heineken’s strategy of increasing our exposure to and growth from developing markets,” he added in the statement.
Heineken stressed that Ethiopia’s beer market had huge growth potential.
With more than 80 million inhabitants, Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa after Nigeria and its beer market has grown approximately 20 percent annually over the past five years.
The Heineken statement said the average consumption of beer and non-alcoholic malt stood at four litres per capita, significantly less than neighbouring countries such as Kenya with 10 litres.
Heineken is present in over 70 countries and sold 205 million hectolitres of beer in 2010, making the world’s third largest brewer.