One of Botswana Ash (Pty) Ltd.’s shareholders, Chlor Alkali Holdings, has acquired the region’s leading table salt producer, Cerebos, in a deal that provides the Sowa Town company with access to the Cerebos brand, BusinessWeek has established.
Chlor Alkali Holdings (CAH) holds a 50 percent stake in Botswana Ash (Pty) Ltd, with the balance held by the government of Botswana. Cerebos, a more than 50-year-old group, is a household brand in South Africa and elsewhere in the region.On Wednesday, Cerebos officials confirmed the transaction in a written response from the salt group’s headquarters in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
erebos managing director John Drinkwater said that Cerebos has been acquired by CAH group, which means that Botash and Cerebos are now in the same group of companies.“This does give Botash access to Cerebos brands and Cerebos access to Botash salt. Going forward, the strategy is to utilise Botswana production and packing facilities to produce local products for the Botswana market in Cerebos Ltd brands,” he said.
Drinkwater added: “This is underway and we intend to utilise local production and/or packing facilities for the Botswana market as well as utilising Botash salt in some Cerebos Ltd brands in Africa. We understand that it is important to support local economies in Africa wherever possible and this relationship allows us to do this.”On Wednesday, Botash Public Relations and Communications Coordinator, Kefilwe Batsalelwang told BusinessWeek that the deal would enable the Sowa Town-based salt and soda ash producer to expand its wings into Africa.
“We are growing the group and the Cerebos you will see in local shops will be from salt produced in Botswana. Part of our strategy is to grow our brand and getting strong brands like Cerebos, is in line with this,” she said. Government banned imports of salt in packages of smaller than 100 kg via a Ministry of Trade and Industry directive effective June 1, 2015.“Implementation of these guidelines would promote salt packaging locally, stimulate domestic production and attract Foreign Direct Investment, which would in turn create employment,” the directive read. Meanwhile, Batsalelwang said Botash is expanding into Central Africa with salt parcels reaching as far as Rwanda.
The company has setup a depot in Zambia with stock and is already receiving orders from that country and beyond.Zambian buyers are also selling to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.Botash’s salt sales have ramped up to 2,000 tonnes of coarse and 1,000 tonnes of fine into Zambia monthly, making the northern neighbour a significant market for the company’s 450,000 tonnes per annum of salt production.
“In Zambia, coarse salt is popular as they use it in the preparation of fish, which is a major business there. They are also using it for animal feeds. Botash has also received orders for soda ash from Zambia where it is used by small detergent producers,” she said. The company’s soda ash is primarily exported to South African where it is used by glass manufacturers such as Consol, PFG and Nampak Glass. Botash has capacity for 300,000 tonnes of soda ash per annum.