ABI is the soft drinks unit of SABMillers South Africa business

ABI is the soft drinks unit of SABMiller's South Africa business

SABMiller has confirmed that it expects to cut around 400 jobs at its South African soft drinks unit Amalgamated Beverage Industries (ABI). 

The unit, which is Africa's largest Coca-Cola bottler, is going through a “structural review” with both management and frontline staff likely to be affected by the cutbacks, the company confirmed today (14 April). “The estimated net reduction in the number of positions is approximately 400,” SABMiller said in a statement. 

ABI has redeployed around 1,000 staff since a streamlining initiative started in 2010, the company said. However, the group pointed to an “increasingly challenging and dynamic business environment”. 

The Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU) said it is taking legal advice and will be calling for an urgent meeting with the company's directors with “a view to placing a moratorium on the comprehensive restructuring program”. 

Last month, ABI's MD John Ustas admitted the company's profits had been affected by a weakening rand, slow economy and rising commodity costs. However, he said the group is aiming for 5% medium-term annual volume growth. ABI has a 91% share of South Africa’s CSD market.