South African Breweries, part of Anheuser-Busch InBev, has cancelled the sum of 2.5 billion rand ($165 million) of investment earmarked for 2021 following a third local ban on alcohol sales in the nation.
SAB’s cancelled financial investments in South Africa in relation to the ban is totalled at 5 billion rand. In August, the maker of Carling Black Label and Castle Lager beer cancelled 2.5 billion rand of planned expenditure following a 2nd alcohol ban.
The government ban on alcohol sales was part of its efforts to reduce the number of covid-19 patients with alcohol-related injuries which adds the workloads of the health workers at the hospitals.
Consequently, more than 165,000 people in South Africa have lost their jobs as well as 30% of local breweries have been forced to close their doors permanently.
“Given the material impact that this third ban on the sale of alcohol has on our business and the possibility of further bans, we have no choice but to halt these investments for the foreseeable future,” SAB’s Vice President of Finance, Richard Rivett-Carnac said in a statement.
The cancelled investments relate to upgrades to operating facilities, product innovation, operating systems as well as the installation of new equipment at selected plants, the brewer said.
“This decision will impact on the profitability of and also the number of jobs created by the companies that would have worked with SAB to execute the capital investment plans,” it included.
SAB is currently in court challenging the federal government’s choice to re-impose the ban.