By Staff Reporter
Zimbabwe’s Delta Corporation, the country’s largest drinks maker, reported a 48% fall in half-year lager sales compared with the same period last year after output and distribution were hit by shortages of electricity and fuel.
The drought that has reduced water levels in dams needed for hydro-power, leading to 18-hour electricity cuts that is negatively affecting industry and mines.
Delta, which is 40%-owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer, said on Tuesday that shortages of foreign currency meant the company also struggled to import raw materials during the half-year ending September.
“Our production and distribution operations were disrupted by the shortages of electricity and fuel, which in themselves are a manifestation of the limited availability of foreign currency,” said Delta. The company said it owed $72 million to foreign suppliers.
Sales of carbonated soft drinks were down 56% during the same period, while volumes for the popular and cheaper sorghum beer fell 15%. The government in June last year abolished the use of the multi currency system favouring the use of the local currency.
The transition from dollarisation to the Zimbabwe dollar has caused an upsurge in inflation, which has eroded salaries and savings while the domestic currency is weakening against the greenback.
However the Minister of Finance and Economic Development has assured the economy will stabilise on the back of a focus on productivity in 2020.