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Heineken SA to cut jobs, put investments on hold

Due to the significant impact of bans on alcohol sales and Covid-19 trading restrictions.
Image: Taylor Weidman/Bloomberg

The South African arm of Heineken will cut 70 jobs and put new investments on hold in the country due to the significant impact of bans on alcohol sales and Covid-19 trading restrictions, it said on Wednesday.

South Africa has recently banned alcohol sales for the third time as part of efforts to free up space for Covid-19 patients in hospitals burdened with alcohol-related injuries.

About 30% of local breweries have been forced to shut their doors permanently and some, including Heineken, have abandoned planned investments.

Heineken employs just under 1 000 full time employees in South Africa where more than 165 000 people in the industry have lost their jobs since lockdowns started at the end of March.

The company said in a statement in light of the continued market pressure and in line with a global review by its Dutch parent company, it now finds it necessary to restructure its operations to build a business fit for the future.

“Prior to considering this action, the company implemented various cost mitigation measures throughout 2020,” Heineken South Africa Human Resources Director Yvonne Mosadi said.

“Unfortunately, given the ongoing challenging situation the company finds itself in, these measures are no longer adequate to manage and sustain the operating costs of the business.”

The maker of Windhoek and Amstel beer said it will continue to review its cost and organisational structure to ensure “it is fit for the future needs of the business particularly during this tumultuous period.”

In August the brewer dropped plans to build a R6 billion ($403 million) brewery in KwaZulu-Natal following the second ban on alcohol sales.

In an emailed response to questions the brewer said other new investments will be placed on hold.

On Friday, South African Breweries, part of Anheuser-Busch InBev, cancelled R2.5 billion of investments earmarked for 2021.

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The ban on alcohol sales seems to be catching up,
but there does seem to be a correlation between alcohol sales and the increase in the number of Covib-19 cases.

I just wonder what the ban is all about, does SA have a drinking problem or a health care problem

No, we have a moronism problem.

They put the responsible economically productive citizens in lockdown with bans on everyday items without scientific research or remedy.

Yup, we got to stay sober it seems…..otherwise (according to our Govt) we’ll end up killing each other in our state of drunkenness.

But that is NOT MY particular culture or upbringing, Mr President….

I think they believe the virus is put into cigarettes and alcohol, I really do…I might be wrong but that is the only LOGIC explanation?

Agreed, CR should address this to “our people” – as he is so fond of doing in most other contexts.

It doesn’t seem right that a minority of irresponsible liquor consumers can have such an devastating impact on an industry. Those who cannot drink responsibly should be paying the price.

Only the start of the corporate boot in this industry. Wine farmers will have to retrench staff

Cyril should stop wasting time giving tv speeches in english and rather reach his “own “ people via the indiginous languages because they r the ones practising “ ma slaan pa “ behaviour when drinking and standing on top of one another when collecting grants or at Beit Bridge – say it like it is to those who need to hear it . i have no respect for you and do not respect what you say Cyril

End of comments.

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