Coca-Cola on Track to Deliver Merger Conditions

Coca Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) recently held its inaugural Supplier Development Conference at Gallagher Estate.

The conference was a key milestone event which forms part of CCBSA’s commitment to a series of public interest conditions attached to its parent company’s (Coca Cola Beverages Africa) establishment last year.

In terms of the agreed public interest conditions that were approved by the Competition Commission, the Supplier Development Conference will be held annually to identify opportunities to maintain and grow local procurement. CCBSA has given its commitment to advancing local procurement and has agreed to train its own managers on the value of local procurement to reinforce this commitment.

The event was attended by over 500 handpicked, black owned high-growth-potential SMME delegates from a variety of industries. They were addressed by an outstanding line-up of speakers with broad industry knowledge across a wide range of issues. The keynote speaker at this high-profile event was Minister of Economic Development, Ebrahim Patel. An evening networking event was hosted for delegates after the meeting.

“Although this is a seminal event, it’s about so much more than delivering a merger condition; it’s about being an active partner in South Africa’s economic and social development as a whole, and in the development of the local beverage sector in particular. In this and other initiatives, we’re working to promote small business and supplier development, and to enhance entrepreneurship in our economy,” said Velaphi Ratshefola, Managing Director of CCBSA.

The public interest commitments agreed to were wide-ranging and in respect of protecting suppliers’ direct interests, included a commitment to maintain and, where possible, improve CCBSA’s level of local procurement of South African inputs. These include all tin and aluminium cans and ends, glass and PET bottles, PET closures, packaging, crates and sugar. The company undertook to honour existing agreements with suppliers and further undertook to provide training for its managers on the value of local procurement.

The company has also undertaken to invest in retailer development and agriculture enterprise development by making R800 million available for entrepreneurship development over the next five years. A R400-million allocation will focus on the development of downstream distributors and retailers. Between 2017 and 2020, an additional 25,000 black retailers of CCBSA’s products will receive business skills training.

A R400-million fund for enterprise development in the agriculture value chain will support and train historically disadvantaged developing farmers and historically disadvantaged or small suppliers of inputs for Appletiser and CCBSA products.

“In addition, as part of our commitment to the country’s economic development, we agreed to initiate a 20% black shareholding in Appletiser to be delivered by May this year, and are increasing the empowerment shareholding in CCBSA as a whole by 9%, to take it up to 20% within five years.

“We’ve been working hard on several of the other public interest merger commitments that were endorsed by the Competition Commission, but this has largely been done out of the public eye. “This Supplier Conference is our first public event and we believe it will give delegates an exceptional opportunity to engage on many issues that affect them, position them well to supply both CCBSA and other major companies, and learn from expert insights of the outstanding line-up of speakers.”

Gauteng Business News