Heineken reportedly wins race to buy Harar, Bedele breweries

Heineken reportedly wins race to buy Harar, Bedele breweries

Heineken has reportedly won the bidding contest to acquire the state-owned Bedele and Harar breweries in Ethiopia.

Heineken has successfully fought off bids from Carlsberg and the beer businesss of Castel, Brasseries & Glacieres Internationales, to acquire the two Ethiopian breweries, according to a Bloomberg report that cites a spokesperson for Ethiopia's Private and Public Enterprises Supervising Agency.

When contacted by just-drinks today (4 May), Heineken said it could not confirm the report. "As we are waiting for official (written) confirmation from the privatisation agency, at the moment we can not confirm the various news reports," a spokeperson for the Netherlands-based brewer said.

Ethiopia is fast emerging as an important market in multinational brewers' scramble for Africa.

"With its large, growing population, political stability, improving economy and rapidly growing beer market, Ethiopia is a promising, long-term growth market for Heineken in Africa," Heineken's spokesperson said.

In late March, Heineken confirmed to just-drinks that it had submitted the highest bids for Bedele and Harar, at US$85m and $78m respectively. A few days later, Heineken's CFO, Rene Hooft Graafland, told the annual conference of the Consumer Analyst Group Europe: "It looks like we're well-positioned to get them." 

Last year, a report published by investment group Access Capital forecast that beer consumption in Ethiopia would rise by 15% per year over the next five years. Castel's BGI accounts for 50% of the market by volume.