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Delta Corp. First-Quarter Drink Volume Drops on Zimbabwe Economy

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July 22 (Bloomberg) -- Delta Corp., Zimbabwe’s biggest company by market capitalization, said fiscal first-quarter lager sales dropped 21 percent amid slowing economic growth.

Group revenue in the three months through June fell 3 percent from a year earlier, in line with Zimbabwe’s “subdued economic performance,” the company, which brews beer and makes soft drinks such as Coca-Cola Co. products, said in a statement today. Volume of sparkling or carbonated beverages fell 8 percent.

“The stretched consumer is now focusing on value-for-money products,” Delta said.

Deflation has taken hold in Zimbabwe and factories are shutting as the country may head into a recession. The southern African nation is battling liquidity constraints that have led to the late payment of civil servants’ salaries in recent months.

Sales of traditional opaque beer, made from sorghum, rose 15 percent in the quarter, while other “alternative beverages” jumped 22 percent, Harare-based Delta said. Total beverage consumption rose only 1 percent. The company said it will release further business details at the annual shareholders meeting on July 30.

Delta said April 10 that revenue fell 1 percent in the previous fiscal year.

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

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at nseria@bloomberg.net Tom Lavell, Sarah McGregor

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