Heineken subsidiary Bralirwa, Rwanda’s leading brewer and soft drinks manufacturer, has reported a 70.6% rise in profit in H1 2020 to Rwf3.9bn ($4m) on the same period in 2019, despite a fall in total volume sales (-3.4%) and revenue (5.4%).
Overall, sales volume fell by 3.4% to 850m hectolitres, which the company attributes to the impact of COVID-19.
The fall in sales volume has come from the soft drinks side of the business, which declined by 23.6% to 229,822 hectolitres. But in H1 2020 volume sales of beer rose by 3.8% from 650,202 hectolitres to 674,767 hectolitres. Bralirwa has also stopped importing Heineken. Heineken is brewed at Bralirwa’s Gisenyi brewery in northern Rwanda, close to the border with Democratic Republic of Congo.
Bralirwa has increased profits by aggressively cutting operating costs. Sales costs fell by 6.3%, distribution costs by 25.7%, and administrative expenses decreased by 15.6%. Overall in H1 2020, Bralirwa cut operating costs by Rwf2bn (US$2m) over the same period last year.
In FY 2019, Bralirwa’s profits fell by 83.5% Rwf1.2bn ($1.25m). Sales volumes for the year increased by 5.4% to 1,886,000 hectoliters, while revenues rose by 1.8% to Rwf100.6bn ($104.9m).