Kenya’s leading brewer East Africa Breweries Limited announced half year financials on Friday and the results paint an image of a mostly stagnant business. The company which sells in four East African countries Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and South Sudan reported a stagnation in net sales growth in Kenya which contributes 74 percent of the overall company sales.
Only Uganda registered sales growth in the period reported with a 7 percent growth in the country contributing 17 percent of the overall sales. Tanzania which does 9 percent of total sales experienced a 7 percent sales decline, while South Sudan market which has had problems in the past went down 6 percent. This resulted in a total sales decline of 6 percent across the board to Kshs 32.1 billion and gross profit decline of 5 percent.
According to Andrew Cowan, group MD the traditional big beer brands have been flat, while emerging brands like Balozi have experienced growth. The Spirits on the other hand have done quite well with all reporting positive growth. Kenya Cane sits at the top of the spirits in a segment that experienced a 31 percent growth. Newly introduced Tusker Cider is reported to have been a success alongside another not so recent entrant Smirnoff Ginseng.
For the three, Tusker Cider, Smirnoff Electric Ginseng and Kenya Cane the leadership attribute innovation to this growth. They have also had to deal with quality assurance among the spirits with a new technology in the bottle caps to ensure what is in the bottle is indeed what it says on the label. This is to deal with counterfeits.