HARARE – Listed beverages maker Delta Corporation (Delta) says its lager beer volumes remain depressed, slumping 12 percent in the quarter to September 2013.
The brewer — about 40 percent owned by South Africa-based SABMiller — said consumer demand has continued to be subdued, “a trend that has been evident since the beginning of the calendar year.”
This comes as the group last week increased the prices of lagers by an average twenty cents.
It said total beverage volumes went up four percent for both the quarter and the six months to September this year, compared to the same period last year.
Sparkling beverages were up by four percent and eight percent for both the quarter and half-year respectively.
Sorghum beer registered a growth of 13 percent for the quarter while nine percent was for the half year driven by the new Chibuku Super and the move by consumers to value product offerings.
The group’s Maheu brand volumes went up by 42 percent and 57 percent for both the quarter and six months respectively.
“Revenue is up three percent for the quarter and five percent for the half year.
“The overall financial performance for the quarter and the half-year is in line with our expectations,” said the firm.
Market analysts say power outages may have affected volumes growth as retailers failed to restock to capacity.
“The decline cannot necessarily be linked with disposable incomes of citizens.
“There is a possibility that declining sales emanates from power outages which negatively impacts on micro-demand by retailers as the absence of refrigerators threatens stocks,” said Takunda Mugaga, independent economist.
He added that the beverages market might also be getting fragmented which means they are pockets of competition from not well established liquor companies and influx of cheap illicit imports.
Meanwhile, in the first quarter to June 2013, Delta’s revenue rose eight percent on the back of a strong demand for soft drinks and sorghum beer.
Revenue went up to $153 million up from $142 million in the same period last year while volumes rose four percent, to slightly above 1,7 million hectolitres.
All beverage categories except lager beer registered volume growth.
Soft drinks grew 13 percent to 374 000 hectolitres while sorghum beer rose six percent 846 000 hectolitres.
Volumes for Maheu jumped 80 percent to 36 000 hectolitres.
Lager volumes, however, contracted by eight percent to 463 000 hectolitres.
Delta controls about 96 percent of the beer market and about 92 percent of the sparkling beverages in the country.