Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Harare — Delta, Zimbabwe’s biggest company by market capitalisation, said Thursday that revenue grew 40% in the first quarter, mainly on lager sales.

The company, 37% owned by Abi Sab Group Holding, remains under a cautionary statement over the future of Delta’s Coca-Cola manufacturing and bottling division following the merger of SABMiller and Anheuser-Busch InBev in October 2016, Delta said in an e-mailed statement Thursday.

"Lager beer volume is up 56% over the prior year for the quarter, matching peak run rates post-dollarisation," Delta said. Zimbabwe abolished its own currency in February 2009, adopting a so-called multi-currency economy in which the dollar dominates trade.

Sparkling beverages, or soda, volumes rose 23% over the same period last year, reflecting sales of drinks such as Coca-Cola and Fanta. Sales of sorghum beer, also known as opaque beer, fell 5% mainly on shortages of packaging as Zimbabwe grapples with foreign-currency shortages to finance imports.

The company will pay a dividend of 2c per share on July 31.

Delta returned to profit and higher production last year after two consecutive years of decline as Zimbabwe’s economy was ravaged by shortages of inputs and foreign currency. The company bought a controlling stake in National Breweries in neighbouring Zambia in 2017, its first acquisition outside Zimbabwe.

National Breweries’ volumes rose 21% in the quarter that ended June 30, Delta said in its report, mainly on improved supply and competitive pricing.