Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) announced that it has sold 17.5% of its shareholding in Appletiser South Africa (ASA) to black owned investment company African Pioneer Group (APG). An additional 4% has been sold to a new entrant black empowerment partner, Sipho Excellent Madlala, a 20-year veteran of CCBSA. The value of the respective stakes was not disclosed.
The deal marks a significant milestone in the history of an iconic South African brand that has earned the loyalty of South African consumers over the past 50 years.
The sale of the equity stakes was sealed after a rigorous process of evaluation and selection, facilitated by Standard Bank. It meets one of the merger conditions agreed to with the Competition Tribunal in relation to the creation of CCSBA last year. These were agreed when the Southern and East African non-alcoholic ready-to-drink bottling operations of SABMiller, The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) and Gutsche Family Investments were combined last May.
Appletiser was previously wholly owned by SABMiller but with the merger, the manufacturing facility, ASA, became a subsidiary of CCBSA, the South African operation of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA).
The Tiser brands (Appletiser, Grapetiser and Peartiser), also previously owned by SABMiller, were sold to TCCC as part of the CCBSA merger agreements. This meant that following the brand sale, the operating model of ASA changed from one of an owned-brand production company to a licensed manufacturer of TCCC brands.
As part of the merger conditions the company undertook that ASA’s operations in Elgin (as well as related ASA operations) would be maintained and grown, and that CCBSA would sell 20% of Appletiser in South Africa to a black economic empowerment holding which we have concluded ahead of the required timeline.
Through its 17.5% shareholding, APG will have a seat on the board of Appletiser. Stephen Dondolo, APG’s CEO, already has experience sitting on the CCBSA board (and the Coca-Cola Fortune board before that). Through his 4% acquisition, Mr Madlala will also acquire a seat on the board of ASA. Both will be active partners in the business, in keeping with the provisions of the merger conditions.
Apart from Elgin, the Tiser brands are produced at one other South African facility, in Midrand, and at facilities in the UK, Canary Islands, Belgium and Australia. However, the Appletiser facility in the Elgin valley in the Western Cape is the original – and the largest – producer of the products, and accounts for some 59% of Tiser brands produced globally. Tiser products produced at ASA are marketed in a range of territories including Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Lesotho, Mozambique, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Mauritius and Swaziland.
CCBSA Managing Director Velaphi Ratshefola said the company was confident that Appletiser has capacity to increase production output considerably to serve the domestic market and to be used as a base for export to the rest of the continent and elsewhere in the world. There are plans in place for ASA to produce other TCCC brands (in addition to Tisers) that are currently produced at the other CCBSA manufacturing sites. With the addition of 200ml, 330ml and 440ml cans of other Coca-Cola products, the facility will produce around 5 million physical cases which is well in excess of prevailing volumes at the time of the merger.
“We are delighted to have these two outstanding partners on board. African Pioneer Group has a long history with CCBSA through Coca-Cola Fortune. Excellent has worked his way up the ladder through hard work and perseverance. His experience in our industry is of enormous value and we have in both APG and Excellent long term, dedicated and active partners for Appletiser.”
Mr Madlala’s personal story is one of constant self-improvement and achievement, having started his working life as a cleaner at Amalgamated Beverage Industries (now part of CCBSA). Rising through the ranks, and earning a marketing qualification from Durban University of Technology along the way, Mr Madlala was promoted into more senior positions. Given his clear leadership skills, he achieved a leadership position as District Manager at ABI before the company merged to become part of CCBSA last year, heading up a 94 member-team. Mr Madlala will retain this role in CCBSA following the transaction.
In terms of the Merger Agreement, at least 80% of the apples, pears, grapes and similar fruit inputs used for all juice concentrate used in producing Tiser products will be procured from fruit grown in South Africa, and plans are sufficiently in progress to increase the procurement of South African grapes for juice concentrate in Grapetiser over the next 5 years. Currently all apple and pear concentrate is sourced from South Africa, with grape concentrate increasingly sourced locally, depending on availability and affordability of supply.
Launched in 1966 as the country’s first and only premium sparkling 100% single fruit juice brand, Appletiser has a dedicated consumer base, and holds its premium position largely due to the proprietary techniques that are used in the formulation of Tiser products, which have made it possible for the company to ensure consistent flavour and aroma. Appletiser is a leading soft drink that has positioned itself as a beverage that holds its own for all special occasions.
Issued by CCBSA