SABMiller's Zimbabwe Unit Profit Falls as Beer Sales Decline

  • Delta Corp battling unemployment, delays to salary payments
  • Zimababwe's biggest company raises dividend despite woes

Delta Corp Ltd., Zimbabwe’s biggest company, said full-year profit declined 13 percent after unemployment and delays paying government worker salaries hurt beer sales.

Net income was $81 million in the year through March, down from $93 million in the previous period, the Harare-based company said in an e-mailed presentation to analysts on Wednesday. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization fell 10 percent. Delta is about 23 percent-owned by London-based SABMiller Plc.

Delta is battling weak consumer spending in Zimbabwe amid a crisis that has seen the economy shrink by about half since 2000. The company said last month it’s considering whether to drop its beer prices to tempt drinkers after full-year revenue fell. Lager volumes declined 8 percent in the year, soft drinks by 6 percent and sorghum beer, made from a type of plant grown in Africa and used for food and biofuels, by 3 percent.

Sales of Delta’s Chibuku sorghum beer showed signs of recovery after price cuts, the company said. Additional capacity has been commissioned at the Chibuku brewery in Bulawayo.

The full-year dividend was raised 29 percent to 4.7 cents, after the company paid a special dividend of 0.95 cents.

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