Johannesburg — South African alcoholic drinks firm Distell is likely to hold off on further investments in Zimbabwe until there are signs it is tackling is deep economic problems, chief executive Richard Rushton said on Wednesday.
He had said earlier this year that if an opportunity arose to invest further in the country the company would look at it favourably, but since then soaring inflation, shortages of basic goods and foreign currency and other problems have worsened.
“It would take a brave individual right now to invest,” Rushton told Reuters by phone after the company reported that its full-year profits had dropped by 1,8% partly because of problems in the country.
While Distell is committed to the long-term opportunity the country offers, he said it wants to see an improvement in currency flows and a plan of action to address the issues Zimbabwe faces coming to fruition before it invests further.
The company is striving to become Africa’s premier drinks brand via an ambitious expansion plan focused on the continent.
While this offers attractive growth prospects, it also exposes it to risks as it pushes into Africa’s tougher markets.