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Schweppes eyes Beitbridge firm

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SCHWEPPES Zimbabwe Limited has moved to acquire Beitbridge Juicing, based in the similarly named border town, in a bid to consolidate its position in the non-carbonated beverage market.

Schweppes, a manufacturer and distributor of non-carbonated still beverages, has offered to purchase 100% of Beitbridge Juicing, a supplier of orange concentrate, orange oil, orange essence oil, grapefruit juice and grapefruit oil.

The proposed acquisition of the Beitbridge-based company entity is now before the Competition and Tariff Commission (CTC)”.

Desire Sibanda, the chairman of the commission confirmed the development, saying the body received notification of the proposed transaction in terms of the Competition Act.

He declined to give more details, but said the competition commission has invited all interested persons to submit representations on “this matter by not later than Friday, 7th March, 2014.”

Delta Beverages own 49% while 51% is held by Waterton Investment (Pvt) Ltd (that comprises Schweppes employee share trust) and the executive (beverages partners) in Schweppes Zimbabwe.

In 2011 Schweppes managing director Charles Msipa said the company enjoyed a 65% market share in the cordials market and 15% in the water market.

This was after it signed a Competition Compliance Programme and Agreement with CTC aimed at ensuring that the company does not abuse its monopoly.

Some of Schweppes’ products include sparkling water, Mazoe Orange crush, Ripe and Ready and the Minute Maid brand, among others.

In 2009, CTC gave the nod to Delta Beverages to acquire Schweppes Zimbabwe Ltd saying the deal did not create a monopoly.

The commission said the merger did not create a monopoly in the beverages sector because Delta was already a dominant player.

It is anticipated that Schweppes investment in Beitbridge would raise the profile of Matabeleland region, which has been suffering economic decline due to Bulawayo’s disinvestment.

Beitbridge is one of the largest producers of oranges in Zimbabwe.

—The Source/Business Reporter

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