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Coca-Cola has called an African ‘Capital Markets Day’ – and that bodes well for the JSE

Business Insider SA
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  • Coca-Cola has called a "capital markets day" for later this month – in conjunction with bottling company Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA).
  • CCBA is a gigantic operation with a last-seen valuation of around R80 billion, and that is not counting half a decade of growth.
  • Nine months ago, Coca-Cola said it intends to list CCBA in Amsterdam, with a secondary listing in Johannesburg.
  • The pitch to investors suggests that IPO is on track, despite pandemic chaos.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

On 18 January, the Coca-Cola Company plans to talk to investors and analysts about a star performer, bottling company Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA), in an online "capital markets day".

And that is very promising for the JSE.

Coca-Cola and CCBA sent out invitations to the event this week without disclosing a direct purpose beyond the wish to brag.

"We look forward to introduce you to our business and the compelling growth opportunities we see across our markets," said CCBA CEO Jacques Vermeulen in the invitation.

The timing is highly suggestive, though. The event comes just about nine months after CCBA announced plans for an initial public offering (IPO), with a primary listing in Amsterdam, and the JSE as a secondary listing.  

See also | The JSE is getting a Coca-Cola boost – here's what you need to know

At the time, CCBA said it planned to be publicly listed within 18 months, which would put its deadline in October 2022.

In the meanwhile the pandemic has continued to play havoc with consumer spending, supply chains, and markets, with everything from labour shortages to high levels of inflation affecting large companies – and many have changed course on long-laid plans as new coronavirus variants made for extended periods of uncertainty.

CCBA does not seem overly concerned.

"Over recent years, CCBA outperformed all the listed Coca-Cola bottlers by volume growth, outside of Covid-19 impacted 2020, and believes it can continue this outperformance," it said in the invitation

CCBA would be a gigantic addition to the JSE, which has seen a stream of delistings, most recently in the form of Adapt IT. It joins more than 20 companies that quit the JSE in 2021, for various reasons, including the ease of raising debt versus the complexity of doing so as equity.

By revenue, CCBA is Coca-Cola's 8th largest bottler in the world. It is the biggest non-alcoholic bottling operation on the continent, and single-handedly makes more than 40% of all the Coca-Cola products consumed on the continent. It employs 20,000 people in operations across South Africa and surrounds, and East Africa. 

The last-seen valuation for CCBA was a little above the equivalent of R80 billion, when in 2017 Coca-Cola bought control of the company from Anheuser-Busch InBev, which had ended up with the shares after buying SABMiller.

If it has only maintained that level of value over the past five years, it will still be firmly in the JSE Top 40, with a market cap well above that of household names such as Clicks and Old Mutual.

(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

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