Forex challenges the underlying reason for Zim's beer supply woes

Zimbabwe’s biggest brewer Delta Corporation is struggling to repatriate millions of US dollars in dividend payments to its major shareholder Anheuser-Busch (AB) InBev, as the country continues to face foreign currency challenges.

Delta financial director Matts Valela told analysts on Wednesday that the beverages company is sitting on more than $60m worth of dividend payments mostly owed to its major shareholder AB InBev.

The dividend bill is set to increase again as Delta has paid another dividend of close to $33m, with the bulk going to AB InBev.

“We are currently sitting on a cash pile of more than $210m with approximately $60m belonging to our foreign shareholder in (the) form of dividend which we have not been able to repatriate,” said Valela.

Delta also owes its suppliers more than $46m, which it will have to pay in hard currency even if the southern African country is to change its currency of use in the future.

The company has not been able to pay its foreign suppliers and has been asking for an extension of its credit lines, but only to a certain limit.

The other foreign currency exposure that the company has is a $25m loan owed to Barclays Bank.

Delta CEO Pearson Gowero said although the company is managing to meet some of its demand, the foreign currency situation has become dire resulting in intermittent product shortages.

“The supply situation has now become severe and hopefully the authorities will be able to find a solution to the foreign currency challenges,” said Gowero.

Delta’s associates are also in the same predicament, with Schweppes Zimbabwe saying performance is constrained by the shortage of imported raw materials. 

The other associate, Nampak Zimbabwe, owned by Nampak South Africa, has also been affected with the company saying raw material supply challenges have been constraining the market’s strong demand.

Spirit maker Afdis is also faced with the same challenges, with its volumes having slowed down due to delayed foreign payments resulting in shortages of packaging and raw materials.  

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