December 10, 2012 / 4:13 PM / in 5 years

Brarudi says sales hit by Burundi tax rise

BUJUMBURA, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Brarudi, majority-owned by Dutch group Heineken and Burundi’s biggest brewer, said sales of beer and soft drinks fell 15 percent in September and October after taxes were raised.

“We are facing a fall in volume of 15 percent for each product ... This is related to the higher consumption tax which has resulted in higher prices of our products,” corporate relations manager Alexandra Sindahera said on Monday.

In July, the government raised the consumption tax on beer, soft drinks and liquor to help plug a $64 million deficit in its 2012 budget.

Brarudi, which produces Amstel and Primus beers in the landlocked central African nation of eight million, said the consumption tax on beer was increased by 42-167 percent, while that on soft drinks was raised 55-67 percent.

The group, the largest taxpayer in the country, said it had laid off 150 workers who were on temporary contracts. (Reporting by Patrick Nduwimana; Editing by Dan Lalor)

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