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In a trading update for the six months to 30 September 2010 released Wednesday 19 October 2011, SABMiller announced that Zimbabwe’s lager volumes grew by 30% benefiting from capacity. Soft drinks volumes for Africa grew by 10% with robust performances in Ghana and Zimbabwe.

We estimate that lager volumes amounted to 941,200 hls for H1 2012 and total beverage volumes increased by approximately 35%%. Lager volumes were aided by the aggressive brand building and increasing contribution from the local “worth-more” offerings. Given the strong demand for lagers, Delta has decided to accelerate the commissioning of a new beer packaging line for Southerton to July/August 2012 from July/August 2013.

Sparkling beverage (SB) volumes showed strong growth despite the price adjustment (of approximately 20%) effected in June 2011. Delta commissioned a new SB returnable glass bottle (RGB) packaging line August 2011 and this is expected to resolve the constrained capacity on the 300ml bottles. The total cost of the line was approximately $13 million and increased the available capacity to 2 million hl. Furthermore, the continued investment in coolers continues to be a big contributor to volume growth. The peak season for the business is from around October to December.

Delta will have an analyst briefing on Wednesday 09 November 2011. In our view, if current trading is maintained sales volumes will exceed initial forecasts. We anticipate margin expansion on improved efficiencies, enhanced product mix and improved supply chain management. We believe that Delta has a compelling story with its pristine balance sheet, strong cashflows and solid brands. There are high barriers to entry in this industry and Delta is virtually a monopoly and has a solid distribution network.

Per capita consumption of circa 14 litres p.a. (for beer excluding sorghum beer) and 11 litres per annum. for sparkling beverages are low in Zimbabwe by developing world standards suggesting tremendous growth potential off a low base.