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Heineken unveils its new SA name

Heineken has unveiled the name of its majority-owned Southern Africa unit, which combines Distell and Namibia Breweries.

The brewer will now trade under HEINEKEN Beverages in the region, a rebranding, that it said, reflects the new company’s multi-category portfolio and commitment to deliver high-quality beverages to consumers across the continent.

The rebranding follows the successful completion of its acquisition of Distell and NBL and putting them into one trading business is aimed at capturing significant growth opportunities in Southern Africa.

HEINEKEN’s CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board, Dolf van den Brink, said: “We are delighted to welcome over 5,400 talented employees of Distell and Namibia Breweries into HEINEKEN and look forward to adding more than €1-billion in net revenue and €150-million operating profit to our African footprint.

“By combining the strengths of all three entities, we can leverage our expertise and resources to foster growth, create jobs, and contribute to the overall economic development of the region.”

Following an agreement with the Competition Authorities in South Africa, HEINEKEN Beverages will move ahead with a significant public interest package, a vote of confidence in the South African economy.

It has set out an ambitious investment plan of more than €500m over five years in the country and more than €250m towards the construction of a new brewery and maltery.

Additionally, the business aims to start establishing a €20m supplier development fund and contributing €10m towards a localisation and growth fund in South Africa over five years.

It will also create “an innovation and research and development hub for the region” and implement what it is calling “a ‘tavern transformation’ program which will support around 1,000 tavern owners to become licensed, sustainable local enterprises over five years.”

Heineken initially revealed plans to acquire control of Distell Group and Namibia Breweries back in November 2021, but the deal met friction due to its ownership of Strongbow in South Africa, creating a competition issue.

To smoothen the acquisition deal, Heineken proposed to divest Strongbow in the region. Strongbow competes with Distell’s Hunter’s Dry and Savanna brands in the South African market, which led the Competition Commission to rule that the merged entity will have a significant market share, “substantially” lessening competition in the cider and flavored alcoholic beverages markets.

The acquisition is set to bolster Heineken’s position in Africa, where Distell has prominence within the wine and spirits categories and gains traction with its popular Amarula brand, as well as having a notable presence with its Hunter’s and Savanna ciders while Namibia Breweries is the beer market leader in Namibia with its Windhoek lager leading the way.


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