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Heineken To Buy South Africa's Distell In $2.6bn Deal

Heineken said on Monday that it planned to buy South Africa's Distell Group Holdings and Namibia Breweries Ltd to form a southern Africa drinks group worth €4 billion ($4.6 billion).

The purchase of Distell would mark a push into wine and spirits for the world's second-largest brewer, with liqueur brand Amarula and wines including well-known labels such as Nederburg.

The Dutch brewer will pay about 40.1 billion rand ($2.62 billion) for Distell, which said this valued its entire business at 180 rand per share, a discount of 1.4% to the stock's Friday close.

Namibian Breweries Ltd

Heineken will also take control of regional partner Namibian Breweries Ltd (NBL), whose current market valuation is about €400 million.

The drinks giant will buy the 50.01% interest of Ohlthaver & List Group of Companies in NBL Investment Holdings, which holds 59.4% of Namibia Breweries (NBL).

Heineken holds the remaining 49.99% of the holding vehicle.

The transaction also entails Heineken's purchase of NBL's 25% shareholding in Heineken South Africa, valuing the whole of the latter at €1.5 billion.

Distell's deal talks with Heineken, the world's second largest beer maker, were first announced in May.

Distell shares, which shot up then, were trading down 7.1% at 169.61 rand, while Heineken's were up 1.0% at €98.20 at 0830 GMT.

'Head-to-Head'

Heineken and Distell, the world's largest and second-largest cider makers respectively, have gone head-to-head for the cider market in South Africa since Heineken launched its Strongbow brand there in 2016.

The purchase would be the first for Dolf van den Brink, who took charge at Heineken in June 2020 and has launched a plan to restore profit margins, partly through cutting 8,000 jobs.

Distell did not pay a dividend for the financial year ended 30 June, as a condition for Heineken's takeover proposal.

Its group CEO, Richard Rushton, said the deal was likely to close by the end of December 2022 and, as part of the agreement, shareholders would not be paid any interim or full-year dividend.

In August, Distell reported a more than three-fold rise in its headline earnings per share, the main profit measure in South Africa, as the company recovered from a lengthy coronavirus-related ban on alcohol sales in its home market.

News by Reuters edited by Donna Ahern, Checkout. For more Drinks stories click here. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.

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