Brandhouse refutes SAB’s market share claim

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Premium beer producer Brandhouse, the country’s second-largest brewer by volumes, said on Monday that it was growing its market share in SA’s beer market, contending that SABMiller had a modestly lower share of the beer market than it claimed.
The battle for the country’s beer market share highlights the intensifying beer war that has been ranging since Heineken NV terminated a contract allowing SAB to produce, market, sell and distribute Amstel lager in 2007.
SAB faces global brewing groups Diageo, Heineken International and Namibia Breweries Limited, which have re-entered the South African beer market via three-way joint venture Brandhouse.
Brandhouse markets, sells and distributes three established premium beer brands – Amstel, Windhoek and Heineken.
To entrench Brandhouse’s market position, its two shareholders, Diageo and Heineken International, created Sadibeng Brewery in a bid to challenge SAB, their largest rival.
Gerald Mahinda, the managing director of Brandhouse, told I-Net Bridge/BusinessLIVE that the company had grown its market share slightly more than 12% to just below 14% of the total local beer market.
This is in contrast to SAB’s latest figures.
On March 31, Norman Adami, MD and chairman of SAB, told I-Net Bridge that the brewer had clawed back to about 89% of market share in the past 12 months, from about 87%.
Before 2007, SAB had a historical average of about 98%.
Adami also admitted that Brandhouse was a “formidable” competitor that initially banged on SAB’s door, demanding a 20% share of the beer market.
Underscoring the company’s growth ambitions, Mahinda said the company planned to double capacity at its local production plant from three million hectolitres a year to six million hectolitres annually.
Brandhouse had increased its investment to EUR410 million from the originally planned EUR300 million in order to boost its capacity, he said.
The company would have ramped up production capacity to 4.5 million hectolitres annually by October 2011, he said.
Mahinda said Brandhouse was growing market share, declining to state what its market share target was.
“It is hard to set a target for market share because this is determined by a number of fundamentals including economic growth,” he added.
However, he said the premium beer market was growing at almost triple the rate of the total beer market, at about 19%, reaching slightly over 23% share of the market segment.
Brandhouse’s sales volumes grew 18% for the six months to February, compared with a comparable period in February 2010. Over the same period, the total South African beer market rose more than 7%.
Mahinda said Brandhouse, which also has Johnnie Walker in its brand portfolio, had a dozen competitors in the spirits and beer markets, noting that “we are in competition for the wallet”.
Gavin Krenski, marketing director at Brandhouse, said the company intended to introduce new brands in market segments where it was underrepresented.