Foreign currency shortages and the breakdown of a canning line has resulted in increasing shortages of Coca-Cola products in Zimbabwe.
Delta Corporation, the Anheuser-Busch InBev subsidiary, anticipates supplies of Coca-Cola to dwindle “in the coming weeks” because without foreign currency it cannot import key manufacturing ingredients, said company secretary Alex Makamure, talking to the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper.
Coca-Cola is already unavailable in some retail outlets.
“We note that we had some challenges in supplying the market with canned product from late January into February 2018 when the canning line was undergoing some repairs. There would be shortages of some brands in that package at the moment,” Makamure said.
“Other than that, we are supplying the full range of brands in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and returnable glass. We, however, anticipate some challenge in supplying product in the coming weeks as we have encountered constraints in accessing foreign currency to cover imported raw materials.”
The ranges of key raw materials in short supply include carbon dioxide, preservatives and probiotic bacteria.
“Other than that, we are supplying the full range of brands in PET and returnable glass,” said Makamure. “We, however, anticipate some challenges in supplying product in the coming weeks as we have encountered constraints in accessing foreign currency to cover imported raw materials.”
Delta Corporation was acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev when the global brewer bought former owner SABMiller in 2016. Elsewhere in Africa, SABMiller’s former Coke franchises were last year bought back by The Coca-Cola Co.
In November 2016, Delta said it was struggling to pay international creditors some US$30 million because of the foreign currency shortages. This was despite previous investments totalling $43m in new bottling lines.
Coca-Cola is also bottled in Zimbabwe by Mutare Bottling Company, but it has much less capacity than Delta.