South African Breweries (SAB) has reaffirmed its commitment to ignite economic growth in South Africa with a pledge to invest an additional 920 million rand ($63 million) into its Prospecton and Ibhayi breweries, boosting its total investment commitment for 2022 to 4.5 billion rand ($309 million).
The announcement was made by SAB CEO Richard Rivett-Carnac at the South Africa Investment Conference held in Johannesburg on March 24.
According to Rivett-Carnac, the beer industry continues to be a key contributor to the South African economy, citing a recently published Oxford Economics study which revealed the nation’s beer industry contributed 1.3% of the national GDP in 2019. At that time, the sector sustained over 248,000 jobs, which was equivalent to 1.5% of national employment. The tax impact was approximately 45 billion rand ($3.09 billion) in 2019, which was the equivalent of 3.3% of government revenue.
As one of the largest businesses in the country, Rivett-Carnac said SAB plays a significant role in igniting economic growth and recovery.
“These investments will give us the capacity to not only contribute to the economy but also to be able to contribute to job creation, tax generation, and procurement spend,” he said.
The new commitment will create direct and indirect employment opportunities and help SAB continue transforming the industry through partnerships with black suppliers, like HTP and Isanti Glass. A majority of the investment will fund an expansion of the Prospecton brewery in Durban. The project is expected to add an estimated 3.1 billion rand ($213 million) in tax revenue and created up to 24,000 jobs throughout the value chain. Approximately 270 million rand ($18 million) will be used to upgrade the Ibhayi brewery in the Eastern Cape.
Considering the economic impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns, Rivett-Carnac explained that SAB’s intention is to assist with economic recovery. “The budget delivered by the Minister of Finance in February ensured that economic recovery was prioritized by keeping the beer excise adjustment closer to inflation,” he said. “This has provided us with the financial space to grow the beer category responsibly and aid our government in our collective mission towards economic recovery and growth.”