The Coca-Cola Beverages Africa Merger Parties and the South African Government Reach Agreement on Public Interest Conditions for Merger

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A comprehensive set of commitments have been agreed between the Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) merger parties – SABMiller plc, The Coca-Cola Company and Gutsche Family Investments – and the South African Government, that will be recommended to the Competition Tribunal in connection with the proposed creation of Africa’s largest soft-drink beverage bottling operation.

The commitments address concerns regarding employment, access to retail cooler space for smaller competitors, localisation of production and inputs used in the production of Coca-Cola products and Appletiser brands, economic empowerment and the location of the headquarters.

The merger parties undertook to ensure that the merged entity maintains its total permanent

employment at current levels for a period of three years from the date of approval of the deal; that employees in the bargaining unit will not be subjected to involuntary retrenchment as a result of the merger and that retrenchments of senior management staff be limited.

The company agreed to invest R800 million to support enterprise development for two groups of entrepreneurs:

  • Creation of a R400 million fund for enterprise development in the agriculture value chain,particularly to support and train historically disadvantaged developing farmers and small suppliers of inputs to Appletiser and CCBSA products on a competitive and sustainable basis; and
  • R400 million incremental investment to develop downstream distribution and retail capabilities with associated skills development and training. This is expected to create an additional 20,000 black-owned retailers.

These commitments will ensure that CCBA, which will be headquartered in South Africa, will support economic and social development in the country in a number of significant ways. The merger parties have made undertakings related to increasing empowerment in Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA), the South African-based subsidiary of CCBA, and supporting long term investment in South Africa.

Detailed commitments to localisation of their supply-chains have been accompanied with an agreement that the merger parties will convene an annual local Supplier Development Conference, produce an annual report on localisation and train managers on the advantages of localisation.

The merger parties agreed to a number of commitments which align closely with the South African government’s national imperatives, including by:

  • Providing for small retail outlets (smaller than 20 m2) to be free to provide 10% of visible space in the Coca-Cola coolers to smaller competitor products where there are no other coolers available in the retail outlets
  • Increasing the broad-based empowerment ownership of CCBSA to 20% and selling a 20% shareholding in Appletiser South Africa to appropriate black shareholders who will be expected to participate actively in the business;
  • Maintaining and growing the Appletiser South African production operations to serve the domestic market and as a base from which to export Appletiser to the rest of the continent and elsewhere in the world.

Headquartering CCBA in South Africa will result in additional revenue for local and national governments; further cement the country’s standing as the investment and business ‘gateway to the rest of Africa’ and demonstrates a clear commitment by the merger parties to invest in South Africa for the long term.

Welcoming the agreement and the CCBA commitments, Ebrahim Patel, Minister of Economic Development noted that the agreement laid the basis for deeper industrialisation in the South African economy.

“Employment creation and development of small businesses are a vital part of building a more inclusive economy. The commitments made by the merger parties will open access to cooler space in smaller spaza shops and retail outlets to competing brands. Employment levels will be protected for three years. The R800 million commitment builds on a number of similar commitments made recently which, taken together, will be a major boost for small-holder farming,” he said.

Alan Clark, CEO, SABMiller noted: “I am very happy that we have reached this agreement and hope we now have a clear path to the conclusion of this transaction and the creation of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa. As the location of CCBA’s headquarters, South Africa will be the heart of this business and our belief is that our commitments will provide a strong footing from which the business will flourish in South Africa and across the continent.”

James Quincey, President and Chief Operating Officer of The Coca-Cola Company commented: “Today’s announcement ensures that the creation of Coca-Cola’s largest bottling partner in Africa will strengthen our business while also closely aligning with the South African government’s national imperatives for social and economic development. Coca-Cola has been firmly committed to our business in Africa and supporting local communities since we first began operations in South Africa almost 90 years ago, and this agreement marks the latest important step in that journey.”

Gutsche Family Investments (GFI) chairman Phil Gutsche said: “I am pleased that we have been able to reach agreement in such a constructive manner which has also enabled us to build relationships and mutual understanding, and I trust that final approval will follow shortly. I believe CCBA creates an opportunity for continued growth and demonstrates our confidence about doing business in South Africa and in Africa.”

A Competition Tribunal hearing on the proposed formation of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa as part of the regulatory approval process with the South African Competition Authorities is due to commence on May 9th 2016. The agreement between the merger parties and the South African government is expected to expedite the approval process.

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Rakesh Rajbally

Managing Director: South Africa

Rakesh is C-Suite leader with 26 years of experience in General Management, Sales, Marketing, Logistics and Finance within the FMCG space. He currently leads the South African business for Coca-Cola Beverages Africa. He has a strong growth mindset and has successfully led CCBSA’s Commercial business unit. He is a sought after thought leader in developing & implementing revenue growth and route to market strategies in both modern and emerging markets. Under his leadership CCBSA recently completed a R6bn/ $400m investment in an Affordability growth strategy. He has also led CCBSA’s strategic and operational Customer management and recently achieved the #1 ranking across FMCG in the Advantage survey for 2 consecutive years.

Rakesh leads the CCBSA executive team that has been instrumental in successfully leading a large organization across major transformation changes including the merger of six entities to form CCBSA, the Sugar Tax introduction, Talent diversity strategy and other major productivity initiatives. He is a trusted partner and builds trust-based relations with business partners, stakeholders, and authorities.

His purpose statement “We have 2 hands, one to help yourself, one to help others” reflects in the many young leaders he has successfully coached and mentored.

Janett Forbes

Commercial Excellence Director

Janett is a seasoned financial, logistics, and commercial executive who joins us from Vector Logistics previously a division of RCL Foods where she held position of Finance Director.

Prior to this, Janett was part of the Coca-Cola family, having occupied various senior roles of Finance Manager, Category Manager, Revenue Growth Manager and Channel Development Manager within ABI in 2002 and 2016.

Janett is a qualified Chartered Accountant (CA(SA), has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Rhodes University in Grahamstown and a higher diploma in Accounting from University of Natal in Durban.

Desilan Pillay

Logistics Director

He joined the Coke system as a Unit Manager Designate at ABI Midrand in 2008. Desilan encompasses 20 years of management experience from companies including Afrox (Linde Group), the South African Breweries (ABI soft drinks and SABMiller – now ABInbev), and Unilever.  

He has a wealth of experience and a vast skillset within South Africa and across the African continent – all at executive levels. This includes, but is not limited to, project management, engineering, production (gases), packaging (FMCG), as well as operations management, financial management, sales and distribution, procurement, and planning (demand, supply, and production). Desilan has managed portfolios across end-to-end Supply Chain (Sourcing, Demand, and Supply Planning), Warehouse Management, Production, and Distribution, including Customer Care, After-sales and reverse logistics. He was also accountable for the delivery of service excellence in order fulfilment, cost of goods sold enhancement via strategic sourcing, and the overall cash optimisation (inventory) across the business. His most recent role before re-joining the CCBSA family is as the Chief Operations Officer at Anchor Holdings, one of the largest privately-owned warehousing companies in South Africa.

Desilan is a qualified Mechanical Engineer and has completed a Management Development Programme from UCT. His areas of expertise include building high performance teams and E2E supply chain and commercial acumen.

Desilan has been happily married for the past 16 years and has a 12-year-old daughter and 18-month-old twins – a boy and a girl. In his spare time, he enjoys seeing new sights locally and abroad. He is always planning his next trip to an exciting destination together with his family.

Nozicelo Ngcobo

Public Affairs, Communications & Sustainability Director

Nozicelo started her corporate career in 1994 when she was recruited by Sasol into their Management Trainee Programme of the top 16 academic graduates in South Africa – class of 1993. In addition to Sasol, Nozicelo has since worked for listed companies such as Telkom SA, South African Breweries (SAB) as well as multi-national organisations such as Philip Morris International (PMI). In 2020, Nozicelo joined Coca Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) as Director for PACS.

Nozicelo has a demonstrable track record in successfully developing and managing corporate affairs and regulatory strategies for complex industries such as alcohol, tobacco and recently the beverages industry. Nozicelo has strong professional networks spanning more than 25 years in both public and private sectors. Her strategic insights, value creation, solutions orientation, strong business/political acumen, solid networks and ability to mobilise teams to successfully execute towards a common vision are just some of the many attributes she brings into any organisation.

Nozicelo is an advocate of human rights, animal rights and has a passion for youth/women empowerment.

Michael John Wilson

Finance Director

Michael started his working career at KPMG as a Manager and Trainee Accountant from 2002 until 2006. After completing his articles, his highest position held at KPMG was Audit Manager and Office Administration Manager. In 2006 to 2009, he worked at BASF South Africa (previously known as Engelhard South Africa), where he was appointed as Site Controller – Mobile Emissions Catalysts Division. He also served as a Team Leader for Finance when the company changed its ERP from JD Edwards to SAP. In 2009, Michael joined Coca-Cola Fortune (CCF) as Finance Manager – Business Support.

In 2015, he was assigned to the CCBA integration team as a Finance work stream member and later that year, Michael was appointed Finance Manager for Marketing, Sales and Distribution. Michael relocated to Windhoek, Namibia in January 2016 as Financial Director for Coca-Cola Beverages Namibia. In October 2017, Michael returned to Port Elizabeth as Group Financial Controller for CCBA, a position he currently holds. He serves on a number of boards and audit committees within the CCBA Group.

In 2000, Michael graduated with a B.Com (Accountancy) Degree from the University of Port Elizabeth and a year later, he completed his B. Com Honours (Accountancy) at the same university. He was admitted as a Chartered Accountant (CA) in 2005. In 2010, he completed his Executive Development Programme at the University of Stellenbosch Business School.

Moses Lubisi

Manufacturing & Technical Director

Moses has over 20 years of extensive experience spanning various industries such as Sugar, Food and Beverages, and Mineral processing, including 15 years within the Coca-Cola system, Moses brings a wealth of knowledge to this role.

His journey within CCBSA has seen him excel in positions ranging from Plant Manager, Regional Manufacturing Manager (Coastal) in CCBSA to Executive Director for Appletiser (Pty) Ltd. Before returning to CCBA within Group Office, Moses served as an Operations Director at Illovo Sugar (Pty) Ltd. His expertise lies in strategy formulation, governance and execution, with a focus on end-to-end value chain orchestration across manufacturing, warehousing, logistics and supply chain management.

Moses has held senior and executive management roles for over six years, overseeing regional and enterprise-level strategies, assets and resource allocation.

Agatha Masemola

Strategy and Performance Director

Agatha joined CCBSA in April 2020 from Absa Corporate and Investment Bank Africa, where she held various roles in the past nine years, including as Managing Principal for Strategy & Business Transformation and Chief of Staff to the Chief Executive of Barclays Africa Corporate Bank. She was a key figure in the build-out and integration of the Corporate Bank across 13 African markets.

Prior to joining Absa, Agatha was a Senior Management Consultant in Strategy and Innovation at Deloitte Consulting, South Africa. At Deloitte, Agatha worked on several executive-sponsored strategy and innovation projects across various sectors, as well as driving new business development. Prior to Deloitte, she worked in Life Sciences R&D for over ten years, both as a full-time researcher with publications in peer reviewed journals, and as a Portfolio Manager & COO for a biotechnology fund management, focusing on investment in early-stage biotech ventures and commercialisation.

Agatha holds a PhD in Medical Biochemistry from the University of Cape Town and has completed post-Doctoral research in South Africa and the USA. She obtained her BSc (Biochemistry and Physiology) and MSc (Biochemistry) from the University of the North. She completed a Management Advancement Programme at Wits Business School to help her transition from laboratory to business.

Agatha loves to travel and enjoys experiencing different cultures and sampling local cuisine.

Hannes Prinsloo

Country Sales Director

Hannes comes with a wealth of experience and strong commercial operations expertise stretching over 30 years within the Bottling system; truly an example of “home grown timber”.

In his most recent role, of General Manager Commercial, he managed the Revenue Growth, Route to Market, Category management, Channel Development and Knowledge and Insights. His previous experiences include that of General Manager Operations, District Manager and National Account Manager.

Among his career achievements, he counts being inducted as a Grand Master in 2021, which is a true testament to his passion for people, strong work ethic, and unwavering commitment to performance. The Masters are seasoned professionals in our core functions (Commercial, Logistics & Manufacturing) who have consistently delivered exceptional results in their 20-plus years of service in the organisation. CCBSA bestows its highest honour these professionals who have shown exemplary commitment, fortitude, passion, loyalty and most importantly, value-adding leadership.

In May 2023, at the annual Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) General Management Meeting (GMM) Awards, he was honoured to receive the CEO Award, which honours exceptional leadership that sets a clear example of consistently living our values. In his leisure time, Hannes follows a wide variety of debate platforms and sports.

Mkuseli Dlikilili

Human Resources Director

Prior to Mkuseli’s appointment to CCBSA, Mkuseli was Group Executive: Human Resources at Pioneer Foods, he  worked for leading South African organisations, including Eskom, SAB, Dulux and Portnet.

Mkuseli’s extensive experience in the FMCG environment includes playing a leading role in Pioneer Foods’ successful listing on the JSE and the integration of SA Dried Fruit and Ceres Fruit Juices. Mkuseli is passionate about empowering and developing people to realise their full potential, as well as contributing positively to all the spheres of their lives, and the accentuation of human dignity. He describes himself as an authentic, resilient, reliable, courageous, humble, principled and value-based person, and a committed Human Resources professional.