Delta of Zimbabwe Sales Rise as Sorghum-Beer Gains Offset Lager

Delta Corp., the Zimbabwean brewer that’s the nation’s biggest company by market value, said first-half revenue climbed 5 percent as an increase in sales of sorghum-based beer offset a decline in lager volumes.

Revenue from sorghum brews, which comprised 60 percent of sales in Delta’s beer category in the year ended March, rose 9 percent in the six months ended Sept. 30 from a year earlier, the Harare-based company said in a statement on its website today. Lager sales fell 10 percent, it said.

“Consumer demand has remained generally soft, a trend that has been evident since the beginning of the calendar year,” Delta said.

Lager-beer sales in Zimbabwe have been curbed after an excise duty increase in December 2012 and a lack of small coinage in a multi-currency economy. Delta is an affiliate of SABMiller Plc (SAB), the world’s second-largest brewer, which holds a stake of 25 percent, according to the London-based company’s annual report for the year through March.

Sales of sparkling beverages climbed 8 percent in the first half, Delta said. The company didn’t provide figures in its trading update. Delta will publish the results on Nov. 14.

Zimbabwe emerged from almost a decade of recession when the government in 2009 permitted the use of the U.S. dollar and other currencies including the South African rand, after the local currency’s devaluation drove inflation to what the International Monetary Fund estimated was 500 billion percent. The nation’s economy will probably expand 5 percent in 2013 and 5.7 percent in 2014, according to the IMF.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Latham in Harare at blatham@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at nseria@bloomberg.net

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