The Beverage Company, parent of Gauteng and Eastern Cape-based beverage producer Little Green Beverages, has announced it has signed an agreement to acquire 100% of SoftBev from JSE-listed Bowler Metcalf and the original founders. The acquisition – which is subject to a number of key conditions including confirmatory due diligence, regulatory and Competition Commission approval – will strengthen The Beverage Company’s objective of building a truly African business of home-grown beverage brands.
Michael Benjamin, The Beverage Company CEO, said:
“The acquisition of Softbev will enable us to offer a powerful, national brand portfolio to consumers. It is our second acquisition towards realising our growth vision and will enable The Beverage Company to rapidly drive scale and efficiency. We see many opportunities from this planned acquisition, with our primary focus being to provide a greater choice of brands and wider product range. Furthermore, Softbev’s trade relationships complement and augment our current footprint, coupled with the continuation of a committed partnership with Pepsi, means that we will be better able to serve consumers.”
Established in 2006 by entrepreneurs Lance Sheppard and Vimal Gowan, Little Green Beverages was acquired by Ethos Private Equity, Nedbank Private Equity and management in 2017. Michael Benjamin was appointed at that time to lead the management team in driving a growth vision for the company.
“Little Green Beverages has successfully been integrated under The Beverage Company umbrella complete with a new young, dynamic and professional executive team to create a new corporate structure under which we intend to build a diverse portfolio of African heritage beverage brands together with internationally renowned brands. We are proud of our locally-grown, entrepreneurial heritage and commitment to world-class standards; we believe that the addition of Softbev builds on this legacy of nurturing local ‘hero’ brands and investing into innovation to meet consumer expectations. Our recent work in developing consumer-loved brands that are aligned to healthy living proves the dynamic ability of the team,” added Michael Benjamin.
Commencing business in 2015, SoftBev is an innovative, 100% South African owned company formed after the merger between two well established businesses, Shoreline Sales and Distribution and Quality Beverages. Their well-established brands include Coo-ee, Jive, and Reboost, and Capri-Sun under licence. SoftBev is also the sole licensed bottler for Pepsi and its related brands across South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland and has distribution rights in Botswana and Namibia. Following the acquisition, these brands and trade relationships will sit alongside The Beverage Company’s extensive Refreshhh! range of carbonated soft drinks, mineral water, mixers and energy drinks (all variants of the Refreshhh! brand) and private-label products for leading retailers.
Mahmood Ismail, CEO at SoftBev was delighted with the next stage of possibility saying:
“Over a good number of years we have dedicated ourselves to making quality local brands that consumers can be confident to consume and enjoy with their friends. We are delighted that our family-run business and our loyal staff will now get the opportunity to be part of an expanded, vibrant and professional business that will offer them further career growth opportunities.”
Sharief Parker, Founder of Quality Beverages added:
“Quality and Shoreline Beverages have been founder-run businesses for many years under the shareholding and support of Bowler Metcalf. We are excited about the prospect of joining The Beverage Company and are delighted to find a partner that respects our legacy, and shares our passion and ambition. Personally, I am looking forward to joining the team for this next stage of the journey.”