• Glass company Consol delisted in 2007. On Thursday morning it announced its intention to return to the JSE's main board.
  • Consol makes 932,000 tonnes of glass for sale across 17 African countries, soon to include Ethiopia.
  • Africans are getting richer, Consol says, and that means they should start using fewer re-usable beer bottles.

It intends to float on the main board the JSE in the near future, the holding company for Consol Glass said in a statement on Thursday morning.

It plans to raise at least R2.7 billion – and allow its long-term shareholders to cash out some of their shares.

Consol was listed on the JSE until 2007, when a consortium led by Brait took it private.

In the 11 years since it has grown to an output of 932,000 tonnes of glass for sale per year, not counting a new plant in Ethiopia due to open later this year.

It has 29 production lines in South Africa, and operations in 17 other African countries.

In the last half of 2017 it reported R3.7 billion in revenue.

In South Africa it expects the consumption of beer and alcopop drinks to drive 3% to 4% growth in the glass market, Consol said in a statement.

Elsewhere in Africa, however, it thinks volumes could spike as increasingly rich people turn away from beer in bottles that carry a deposit and are reused.

"Returnable beer bottle are widely used across Africa, especially amongst demographics in which disposable income is low," Consol told potential new shareholders. These bottles can be reused up to 30 times before they must be recycled.

But as disposable income increases, beer drinkers are "are typically willing to pay more for premium products that are more likely to be packaged in non-returnable glass".

It also high hopes for "the increasing consumption of beer from legal vendors, as opposed to illicit sources" – which means more bottles sold.

Consol is nearly synonymous with glass in South Africa. This television ad was ranked among the best-loved in 2017.

The initial offering of its shares will not be open to the public, Consol said.

It did not provide details of the listing or its timing, promisingly those "in due course".

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