It’s been a tough three years in the brewery sector for the outgoing Guinness Nigeria Plc MD. After leading the company through a challenging era he is set to depart as the Managing Director of the company. This particularly makes an interview he granted to Guardian very interesting as he took time to give an insight into his time as MD of Guinness. The highlight of the interview for me was his insights into the challenges the company faced by new competition and their late entry into the Value brand segment. Here is an excerpt of the interview.
In terms of what I met and what I am leaving, like I said, the company has always been fantastic organisation and like any company of this sort, you would always have challenges. I believe that you will know that by the time I came to the saddle, the company was already facing some challenges in the market, probably like a year or two before I came in, so my major task was to come and tackle those challenges as well as create a platform for a sustainable growth trajectory for the company. So, in this respect, I am very pleased at what the team has achieved in my period and I will speak on that in a second.
Some of the challenges were that the market dynamics and the competitive landscape were changing few years ago, not only because we were coming from a two-player industry to a three player industry, as another major multi-national company came in few years ago. So, that sort of changed the competitive landscape. But beyond that was the fact that following the subsidy removal at that time, we started seeing a bit of the challenge around the disposable income of consumers, with a result that we started seeing what we call in this industry down-trading, from the premium and mainstream brands to the value brands which are basically the N150 brands. We at Guinness up until that time had been a company that was more established in the premium and mainstream sectors of the market, so we were not exactly strong in the value brands. Another challenge that we had clearly was that we were having difficulties reaching all the bars or outlets that we would like to be distributing to, as distribution was one of the challenges, that does not mean that distribution had collapsed but the reality is that we did have some gaps in that area.
Thirdly, at that time, we were sort of well into the capacity expansion programme that we started, just few years ago. So, in terms of what I am leaving as I am moving on, I am incredibly proud of the fact that today, we have a stronger portfolio. We now have value brands that are thriving such as Dubic and Satzenbrau so this are brands that we launched and in case of Satzenbrau, we re-positioned as a value brand .N100 for 45cl did not exist before and it is doing very well. That is on the portfolio side. On the route to consumers in terms of distribution, we have started a project that is targeted at enhancing the quality of our distribution and making sure that we can expand into places that hitherto, we were not able to reach. That project is underway. I am also proud of the fact that we completed that project successfully.
You can read the full interview here Guardian