SABMiller, Gutsche Family Investments (GFI) and The Coca-Cola Company, plan to combine their non-alcoholic ready-to-drink beverage bottling operations in Southern and East Africa.

Catering to 12 countries, the new bottler Coca-Cola Beverages Africa will represent nearly 40% of all Coca-Cola beverage volumes in the continent.

To begin with, it will manufacture and distribute Coca-Cola beverages in nine countries – South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Namibia, Comoros and Mayotte.

In the proposed merger, SABMiller will have 57% equity, GFI 31.7% and Coca-Cola 11.3%.

The merger will be completed in two phases and will comprise SABMiller’s South African soft drinks bottling businesses, Amalgamated Beverage Industries and Appletiser, and its bottling units in eight more African countries.

SABMiller also plans to merge its Swaziland soft drinks business and the listed subsidiaries in Botswana and Zambia.

GFI will merge its bottling interests in Coca-Cola Sabco, comprising its South African bottler, Coca-Cola Fortune, and bottling operations in six other countries in the continent.

Coca-Cola Beverages Africa will combine South African soft drinks businesses Coca-Cola Canners, Valpré and Coca-Cola Shanduka Beverages.

As part of this deal, Coca-Cola will pay $260m to purchase SABMiller’s Appletiser brands and other 19 non-alcoholic ready-to-drink brands in Africa and in Latin America. SABMiller, however, will retain its ownership of non-alcoholic malt beverages in Africa and Latin America, and the Coca-Cola franchises in El Salvador and Honduras.

SABMiller CEO Alan Clark said: "Soft drinks are an important element of our growth strategy. This transaction increases our exposure to the total beverage market in Africa.

"The opportunity is significant, with favourable demographics and economic development pointing to excellent growth prospects."