May 23, 2018 Last Updated 11:11 AM, May 23, 2018

Kenya sells state-owned sugar assets

ABN – Kenya’s Privatisation Commission has announced plans to sell five of the country’s sugar companies to private investors.

It is hoped that the sale of the state-owned sugar companies will help to wipe off the country’s debt of US$603 million.

Around 590,000 tons of sugar were produced in Kenya last year and the five sugar companies accounted for 10% of this.

Kenya’s sugar industry has started struggling due to record high production costs of $900 per ton, which is way about the $300 recorded in other countries.

Sugar accounts for about a fifth of Kenya’s economy and the industry employs around 250,000 people.

Nzoia Sugar, South Nyanza Sugar, Chemelil Sugar, Muhoroni Sugar and Miwani Sugar will all be sold if the plans go ahead.

The Privatisation Commission chairman Henry Obwocha said: “Government reached the decision of bailing them out completely so that the firms would look attractive to investors.

“The government planned to sell 51 percent stakes in the companies to a ‘strategic partner,’ and a further 24 percent to both growers and employees.”

@ABNetworkOnline

Astral Foods announces expansion plans

ABN – Poultry producer Astral Foods has announced plans to expand its presence in Africa by moving into Ethiopia.

The company’s core market is in South Africa and the rest of the continent, where chicken consumption is lower, represents a big opportunity.

Astral CEO Chris Schutte said: "If we do pull the trigger in Ethiopia it will be a greenfields investment, and it will be some time before we see anything at bottom line.”

Mozambique, Zambia and Swaziland are already part of the Astral Foods operations.

Following the completion of the company’s expansion projects in Zambia and Mozambique its profits grew by 24%.

Schutte added: "If you ask whether Africa will ever represent 50% of Astral’s revenue then that might take 20 to 25 years.

“But if we can get to 10% to 15% in the next few years then we would be happy with that."

@ABNetworkOnline

SABMiller becomes world’s second largest brewer

ABN – SABMiller has reported a continued growth in its soft drinks business across Africa, Latin America and Europe.

The company’s recent figures posted year end March 2015 make it the second biggest brewer in the world.

SABMiller CEO Alan Clark said: “Our confidence in the future of our soft drinks business was underlined by the agreement, announced in November 2014, to create Coca Cola Beverages Africa.

“By consolidating activities such as procurement and back office services, and integrating our supply chain, we are reaping rewards.

“We achieved positive momentum in our underlying business performance, particularly in the latter part of the year, with EBITA growth and margins expanding on an organic, constant currency basis.

“As flagged, the strengthening dollar against many of our operating currencies had a negative translational impact on reported results.”

@ABNetworkOnline

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