BGI Ethiopia, Ethiopia’s largest brewing company and unit of the French Castel Group, is set to take over full ownership of Zebidar Brewery, a relatively young player in the industry whose majority share is owned by Unibra, the Belgian-based company, writes the Amharic bi-weekly on Sunday. The Reporter newspaper quoted reliable sources as saying that BGI has offered unspecified amount to buy the brewery that has been producing a beer under its own name since January 2017. Zebidar’s board members and BGI officials are about to come to final agreements, even though the exact terms of the deal were not disclosed, according to the paper. Unibra holds 60 percent of the Zebidar brewery and the rest of the share is owned its local partner, Jemar Hulugeb Industry S.C..
The acquisition of Zebidar Brewery will give BGI, ownership of the plant that sits at 150,000sqm plot of land and has an annual production capacity of 350,000 hectoliters. Zebidar intoducded a lager style beer with a 33cl bottle with a pull off, ring pull bottle cap, which the company described was a “new innovation for the Ethiopian beer market.” The brewery is located in the SNNPR, close to Welkite town, 167 kms from Addis Ababa.
On November 2017, it was also reported that BGI Ethiopia has offered 2.5 billion birr to fully acquire Raya Brewery, a brewery located in the northern part of the country, in which BGI is the majority shareholder. The purchase is to be finalized yet.
BGI’s expansion plan is mainly driven by the success of its product, St. George, Ethiopia’s oldest beer brand that Castel Group bought in 1998 and two other brands it added, Amber and Castel. Though still the number one player in Ethiopia, BGI is facing fierce competition from Heineken’s popular brand, Walia and two other brands, Habesah, unit of the privately-owned Dutch brewer Bavaria and Dashen. Meta Abo Diageo, which acquired Meta Abo Brewing in 2012 for $225 million is not faring that strong important presence.