A restructuring exercise announced yesterday by Ohlthaver & List (O&L) will potentially see Heineken International increase its indirect ownership in Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) to 29.9 per cent.
If the proposed deal receives regulatory approval, including approval from relevant competition authorities, then Heineken will acquire a 15 per cent indirect Diageo-owned stake in NBL, while O&L will retain its 30.1 per cent indirect stake. The balance of shareholding will continue to be held by local minority shareholders and O&L will continue to control NBL going forward. The massive restructuring is expected to be completed before the end of 2015.
With regard to operations in South Africa, Diageo – which produces popular spirits such as J&B, Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff – will also sell its 42.5 per cent stake in DHN Drinks, which will result in Heineken increasing its stake from 42.5 per cent to 75 per cent and NBL increasing its stake from 15 per cent to 25 per cent. This means that Diageo will then operate in South Africa and Namibia through wholly-owned subsidiaries. This is because NBL will acquire the 25 per cent stake that Diageo owns in the Sedibeng brewery in South Africa while Heineken will retain its existing 75 per cent stake in that brewery.
This new joint venture between NBL and Heineken exclusively focuses on the beer portfolio and provides the parties with increased commercial control of key brands in South Africa, including Heineken, Amstel and Windhoek Lager.
“We are proud to have worked together with two world-class organizations, Diageo and Heineken, from which we have benefitted in terms expertise and know-how. We have significantly grown our beer portfolio in South Africa and Namibia and are excited to enter into a new partnership with Heineken to take our beer portfolio growth aspirations to the next level. The region has strong demographics and compelling prospects for future growth. We look forward to this next stage of our journey,” said Sven Thieme, Executive Chairman of O&L.
“We have worked very successfully with Heineken and NBL throughout our partnership, growing the beer business and establishing market leadership in spirits. From this leadership position we now believe that Diageo has the necessary scale to move to the next stage of growth for spirits, RTDs and our beer and cider portfolio in a focused, simplified ownership structure,” said Diageo Chief Executive Ivan Menezes in a statement released yesterday.
Heineken International CEO and Chairman of the Heineken Executive Board, Jean-François van Boxmeer, commented: “For the past 11 years we have benefitted enormously from our close collaboration with Diageo and I would like to thank them for their valued partnership and wish them well for their future in the region. Our new structure allows us to focus solely on the beer category and strengthens our platform for continued growth. We look forward to working with our longstanding partner, Namibia Breweries, and are excited about our future prospects in this important part of the global beer market.”
Meanwhile, O&L reports that South Africa is one of the biggest beer markets in the region, with a growing middle-class population and strong gross domestic product (GDP) growth. The SA beer market is expected to grow by approximately 1.5 per cent per annum from its current size of 30 million hectolitres to an estimated potential of 35 million hectolitres by 2024.