EABL now in Rwanda
On March 31st, leading East African brewery officially entered the Rwandan market, one they’ve been already active in without an official launch. In this issue of The Corporate, we trace the roots of East African Breweries and its growth on the continent.
By any standards, East African Breweries is a successful brewery. The portfolio of companies it owns includes Kenya Breweries, Uganda Breweries, Central Glass – a glass manufacturer, Kenya Maltings and United Distillers and Vintners (Kenya) Limited.
EABL was started in 1922 by two white Kenyan settlers George and Charles Hurst as Kenya Breweries. In the 1930s, the group tried to expand to Tanzania but hard times hit in 1967 when the Tanzanian economy was nationalized. Tanzania Breweries was poorly managed until1993 when the Tanzanian government entered into a joint venture with South African Breweries Limited to run Tanzania Breweries.
South African Breweries, one of the largest and most efficient in the world turned their Tanzanian acquisition around with extraordinary speed, almost tripling production in the space of three years. In 2002 EABL and SABMiller Plc. effected a share swap of interests in their subsidiaries: Kenya Breweries Limited acquired 20% of the equity of Tanzania Breweries. SABMiller Plc. acquired a 20% equity stake in Kenya Breweries.
Today, EABL’s primary listing is on the Nairobi Stock Exchange but is also cross-listed in Uganda and Dar-es-Salaam. The biggest shareholder of EABL is Diageo Plc, the largest beer, wine and spirits company in the world. EABL’s most popular brand is Tusker from Kenya. Its logo is an elephant bearing tusks in memory of the 1923 death of George Hurst at the tusks of a bull elephant.
Besides running intensive media campaigns on continental sports television channel, SuperSport, On March 20, 2007 the East African newspaper reported that East African Breweries was now targeting Zambia and Ethiopia Markets. Only ten days later did they launched their products in Rwanda.
Insiders say, EABL spent an estimated 100,000 US $ entertaining a crowd composed of the crème de la crème of Kigali’s corporate community and known socialites. Leading artists from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi converged in Kigali to entertain guests as they sampled the wide variety of alcoholic beverages EABL had on offer, at zero price.
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