Diageo completes Ethiopian acquisition

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Diageo claims its new acquisition of Meta Abo Brewery in Ethiopia allows it to gain access to a fast-growing market. In beer to complement its existing spirits business.

Meta Brewery is the second largest beer company in Ethiopia with a volume share of approximately 15%. From its brewery near the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, it produces and distributes its flagship national lager brands Meta and Meta Premium (pictured).

The US $225m (€176m) cash deal was welcomed by Nick Blazquez, president, Diageo Africa: ““I am delighted that we are able to announce the completion of this acquisition which represents a key milestone in achieving our strategy of participating at scale in beer and spirits in growth markets in Africa.

Meta is a strong national brand that has great heritage in Ethiopia. We will invest behind the long-term growth of the brand, the Meta business, and the wider communities in Ethiopia.

Blazquez said that over the past five years Diageo had invested more than ?1bn (€1.2bn) in building its businesses in Africa, and would continue to “expand our footprint, grow our brands and secure strong routes to market [there]””

According to Access Capital 2011 statistics, the beer market in Ethiopia is estimated to continue to grow at more than 10% per annum to 2015, driven by strong GDP growth and increased disposable incomes.

Diageo currently markets its international spirits brands, including Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky, Smirnoff vodka and Gordon’s gin, through a representative office in Addis Ababa.

Francis Agbonlahor has been appointed MD of the Meta business from immediate effect, in a step that will see him move from Diageo’s business in Nigeria.