The brewing giant, Nigerian breweries plc made this known on Tuesday while briefing the media at its Pre-Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Lagos.
The company disclosed that the challenging operating environment continued into the first quarter of 2019, similar to what was seen in 2018, but feels strong with its strong portfolio strategy to deliver good returns to all of its stakeholders.
The managing director listed some of the challenges the brewer faced in the previous year include the new excise duty rate increase on beer, wine, spirits and cigarettes which came into effect in June 2018. NB said its earnings were adversely impacted by the new rate, racking-up N25.8bn in excise duty expense in 2018 alone.
While the Federal Government has promised to review the new rate increase as it impacts businesses in the sector, another wave of rate increase is set to come into effect by mid-year and will lead to rate increase from N30 per litre which was introduced in 2018 to N35 per litre in 2019.
While speaking at the event, Nigerian Breweries Managing Director, Jordi Borrut Bel, said that other challenges the industry is facing includes double digit inflation as well as a difficult macroeconomic environment, which he said is penalizing the business community.
While the Nigerian economy presents challenges, the MD restated the company’s commitment to winning with Nigeria.
“We want to win with the Nigerian societies and communities because we believe in Africa’s biggest market with a young and dynamic population showing promising indicators for growth. We also believe that the country’s demographics will play a huge role in the future,” he said.
Borrut Bel, added that in the future, the company will prioritise developmental efforts through its three pillars of growth.These include expanding leadership in premium brands, building scale in mainstream to drive malt growth by leveraging on innovation and improving end to end productivity,” he added.
Also commenting at the pre-AGM meeting, Nigerian Breweries Corporate Affairs Director, Sade Morgan, said that the company has put plans in place to increase its local raw materials sourcing from 57% to 60%, adding that the company would be working with Nigerian farmers to attain this goal.
On water usage, Morgan said that the company has employed technology to cut down on water usage to 41% as well as reduce the level of its carbon emissions.
Touching on its campaign to educate motorists on the dangers of drinking and driving, the Corporate Affairs Director, said over 20,000 people has been impacted by the company’s advocacy since its inception.
The Marketing Director of Nigerian Breweries, Emmanuel Oriakhi, while speaking at the event, said that Nigerian Breweries will continue to produce top quality brands that will meet the ever changing needs of the Nigerian consumer, noting that with the help of its strong portfolio, it would ensure consumers get value for their hard earned money.
“The quality of our brands cannot be questioned anywhere in the world and we are here for the long haul and we will continue to introduce innovative and quality products for the Nigerian markets,” he said.