Walmart to boost SA wine

This morning’s R32 billion bid for Massmart by the world’s largest retailer, Walmart, is good news indeed for SA wine. Over half of Massmart’s business is in food and liquor and the group runs over 290 stores in 14 African countries. Makro is the jewel in the Massmart crown and the supermarket chain has long been a leading wine retailer in SA.

m12 Walmart to boost SA wine

Makro was fourth largest buyer at the Nederburg Auction earlier this month (behind Spar, Shoprite Checkers and Tesco’s Wine Club) and formalization of foreign ownership (the group is already over 70% owned by US and European investors) is a significant PR coup – especially given the recent spate of irresponsible calls for nationalization of SA mining assets by economists of the caliber of Julius Malema.

The Japanese buy Didata, HSBC stalks Nedbank and now Walmart gobbles up Massmart. How much longer must Distell sit on the shelf with SAB Miller keen to sell their 29% stake in the largest SA wine corporate? The brewers could surely use the cash in their pursuit of Foster’s lager. Word in the cellar is that the recent approach from Jannie Mouton’s Zeder to SAB Miller for their stake was stymied by opposition from beer drinkers in Johann Rupert’s Remgro who have been slowly consolidating their own position in Distell. Foreign investment makes a lot of sense.