ABC becomes Egypt's sole beer and wine producer
Egypt's Al-Ahram Beverages Company (ABC) said Wednesday, February 28, it was becoming the country's sole beer and wine producer with an agreement to buy 100 percent of the shares of rival El-Gouna Beverages Group.
The deal was valued at 255 million Egyptian pounds (around $65 million), an ABC statement faxed to AFP said.
ABC produces Egypt's long-standing Stella beer while the two-year-old El-Gouna, which brews the more and more popular Sakkara Gold, has captured 15 percent of the beer market, according to ABC.
ABC Executive Chairman Ahmed Zayyat said El-Gouna would be operated as an "independent profit center with separate sales and marketing teams ... (to) ensure creative market competition and customer focus."
El-Gouna also brews Lowenbrau under license from the German firm as well as wines made from imported concentrates under the Obelisque label, competing with ABC's Omar Khayyam wines.
The statement said ABC, privatized in 1997, was acquiring a state-of-the-art spirits distillery as part of the deal, which will enable the firm to manufacture brands licensed from three unnamed international drinks companies.
El-Gouna is being bought from Egypt's Orascom Projects and Tourism Development, part of the Sawiris family's Orascom empire, and other investors.
ABC is hoping for a boom in the beer market in Egypt where only 0.7 liters are consumed per person per year, compared to 13.2 liters in Turkey and around six litters in Arab countries like Tunisia and Algeria. It also has agreements to produce Carlsberg and Guinness beers in Egypt.
ABC's sales rose 14 percent in the first half of 2000 to 162 million Egyptian pounds ($46 million), compared with the same period the previous year, on the back of increased production.
ABC is listed on the London and Cairo stock exchanges. The value of the El-Gouna acquisition represents 215 million Egyptian pounds paid in cash, plus the assumption of 40 million Egyptian pounds in debt. — (AFP, Cairo)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)