Speaking at the Cartagena World Economic Forum, the CEO of beer brewer SABMiller announced that Colombia is now the company’s most profitable beer market worldwide, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
The Andean nation’s beer sales were some of the least affected and fastest to recover from the global economic downturn, which hit the beer industry hard, said the company’s CEO, Graham Mackay, at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Latin America in Cartagena.
The Colombian government hiked the tax on beer from 3% to 14% from February 1st 2010, and has plans to raise it to 16% from January 1st 2011.
Mackay refused to comment on whether these tax increases would affect the multinational company’s profits in the country.
The improved security situation in Colombia was hailed as a major contributor to SABMiller’s recent success in the country, which the company had found a problematic market in the past.
“Where it did do business it was through third parties. Beer might have filtered into those areas through informal channels, but it was a very inefficient way to trade,” Mackay said.
“There are still some very remote areas of the country which are still dodgy, but we’re talking about jungle areas, not major conurbations.”
SABMiller has brewing and distributing agreements across six continents, with major brands such as Miller Genuine Draft, Pilsner Urquell, Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Grolsch, and Aguila.
The WEF is intended to strengthen relations between public policy and business.
The forum’s 550 guests come from 40 different countries, 60% of which are outside Latin America, according to WEF organizers.
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, as well as the presidents of Barbados, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay and the Dominincan Republic attended the forum.