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Other Beverage Interests

Financial summary
Turnover 1,473 1,171 26
– ABI 1,151 912 26
EBITA* 250 186 34
– ABI 213 158 35
EBITA margin (%)* 17.0 15.9  
– ABI 18.5 17.3  
Sales volumes (hls 000s)      
– Soft drinks 14,301 13,227 8
– ABI 14,066 12,999 8
* Before exceptional items of US$Nil million (2004: profit on disposal of trademarks of US$13 million).

Amalgamated Beverage Industries (ABI)
ABI has benefited from the favourable economic conditions referred to earlier, and a growing black middle class has increased national household spending, supporting increasing demand for ABI’s products. Volume was buoyant, and the 8% growth was driven by effective national account promotional spend, the effects of the twotiered pricing strategy, and moderate price increases. The final quarter showed strong growth, aided by the timing of Easter in March. The benefits of the two Easters during the year aided growth in volume by approximately 0.5%. This excellent performance resulted in share gains in the CSD category, especially in the national accounts following repositioning of some brands and more effective promotional spending. Continued flavour and pack innovation further drove sales, as did focus on driving winter consumption. CSD volumes were up 8% for the year and overall, CSDs contributed 94.6% of total ABI volume. CSD volume increases were driven by the growth in non-returnable bottles, in particular the 2 litre pack.

Turnover increased 26% (11% in constant currency) on the back of volume growth and selective price increases. EBITA increased by 35% for the year (19% in constant currency), driven by higher turnover, productivity improvements and procurement cost reductions, and delivered an improved EBITA margin of 18.5%.

Sales in South Africa recorded strong growth, with new packaging receiving an enthusiastic response, and progress was made in several international markets. Good EBITA growth reflected the benefits of higher volumes and operational efficiencies, partially offset by increased marketing expenditures.

Distell’s domestic sales volumes increased, with further gains in the spirits category contributing to an improved sales mix. International volumes also grew, focused on a core portfolio of brands in selected markets. Customer service levels and operational efficiency has improved across the business, and work with key suppliers has yielded benefits. The improved sales mix, disciplined cost management and the containment of overhead costs have all contributed to improved earnings.

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