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Diageo’s Kenyan unit calls Tusker beer sale report ‘market speculation

East African Breweries (EABL), the Kenyan unit of Diageo Plc, dismissed a media report that its parent company wants to sell the Tusker beer brand as part of broader cuts.

U.S. news outlet Axios reported last month that Diageo was looking to sell Tusker along with other beer brands including Ireland-based Smithwick’s, Kilkenny and Harp Lager, saying they were a margin drag on the rest of the business.

But in an interview with Reuters EABL CEO Jane Karuku denied the brand would be sold. “Those are market speculations,” she said, declining to comment further.

There was no immediate comment from Diageo on the other brands that were reported as being considered for sale.


EABL, which is the market leader in Kenya, including with whiskey brands like Johnnie Walker, posted net sales value growth for its first half to the end of December.

But its margins were compressed by higher costs of production and financing, after the Kenyan shilling, the currency of its biggest market, weakened, and interest rates rose.

EABL would focus on improving margins in the second half to cushion the company’s performance, Karuku said.

By The African Mirror