The East African Breweries Limited (EABL) parent firm Diageo has launched a worldwide Ksh.10.6 billion ($100 million) fund to support the recovery of bars as the industry re-emerges from COVID-19 restrictions.
Dubbed ‘Raising the Bar’ the initiative will be a two-year program available from July and is aimed at supporting jobs around the world.
“The fund is expected to support the recovery of major hospitality centers including New York, London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Belfast, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Kampala, Sydney and beyond,” the firm noted.
The program is expected to provide targeted support to help pay for the physical equipment needed for outlets to re-open.
“Pubs and bars sit at the heart of every community. We have launched “Raising the Bar” as so many outlets have been impacted by this crisis and badly need help to open their doors again. We are calling on governments around the world to provide long-term recovery packages to help the hospitality sector,” said Diageo Chief Executive Officer Ivan Menezes.
“These businesses play an essential role in bringing people together to socialize and celebrate – something that we have all missed so much during this terrible crisis – and sustain hundreds of millions of jobs, which provide a first foot on the employment ladder for young people.”
In the United Kingdom, for instance, Diageo says it will provide hygiene kits including personal protective equipment (PPEs), cashless systems, mobile bars, outdoor equipment, and sanitizer dispensing units.
The support to bars and restaurants is expected to boost Diageo’s own recovery as it too seeks to rely on the rebounding to grow sales.
Locally, the boost to bars will serve to lift EABL sales as the firm grapples with declining sales from COVID-19 disruptions.
In May, EABL issued a profit warning indicating the pandemic had impacted sales and that earnings would be at least 25 percent off the Ksh.11.5 billion net profit recorded in 2019.
EABL has been relying on the traction of products especially new products to drive growth for the company in recent years.
The firm’s profitability is mainly driven by brands such as Serengeti Lite, Tusker, Cider, Chrome Vodka, Captain Morgan Gold, and Uganda Waragi Pineapple.
Diageo holds a majority 50 percent stake EABL through Diageo Kenya, Diageo Holdings Netherlands B. V., and the Guinness Overseas Limited.