EABL sets up Sh532m fund to aid bars’ Covid recovery

EABL chief executive Andrew Cowan. FILE PHOTO | NMG East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL) has announced a Sh532 million ($5 million) recovery fund to help pubs and bars resume trade post-lockdown.

The two-year programme dubbed “Raising the Bar” is part of the Sh10.6 billion ($100 million) kitty that will be rolled out from June 1 in different markets through EABL’s parent firm, Diageo.

EABL says the programme will offer targeted support like purchasing equipment such as hygiene kits, permanent sanitiser dispenser units, hand sanitisers, masks, and protection screens for bars that cannot maintain the one metre social distance.

The firm will offer the bars hardware and not cash through the recovery plan that comes in form of a free grant.

The regional brewer was hit by measures imposed to limit spread of coronavirus including closure of bars and nightclubs, prompting the firm to issue a profit warning for the year ending June.

EABL chief executive Andrew Cowan said the programme will help accelerate recovery of hospitality sector and curb job losses. “We want to support the long-term recovery of the hospitality sector. These businesses play an essential role in bringing people together to socialise and celebrate – something that we have all missed so much during this terrible crisis,” said Mr Cowan.

Alcohol sales have plummeted as businesses continue to reel from the order that only allows for take-away.

EABL has said its profit after tax for the year ending June was likely to decline by 25 percent compared to the previous period, hurt by the coronavirus pandemic.

The company reported Sh11.52 billion in profit after tax for the year ended June 2019.

Kenya is yet to issue a time line when bars will resume. In the UK, pubs, restaurants, cinemas and hairdressers are among the venues which will be allowed to reopen from July 4.

The pubs and cinema will have to reconfigure seating, minimise self-service, cancel live acts and stagger arrivals.“We have launched “Raising the Bar” as so many outlets have been forced to close by this crisis and badly need help to open their doors again,” said Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes.

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