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Cameroon: With Heineken’s exit, Castel has sole command of SABC

By Omer Mbadi, in Yaoundé
Posted on Thursday, 6 August 2020 19:16, updated on Friday, 7 August 2020 17:36

SABC factory in Douala, Cameroon. © Nicolas EYIDI for Jeune Afrique

The Dutch beer giant sold its stake in brewing company Société anonyme des brasseries du Cameroun (SABC) for €64m.

In accordance with a pledge made on 20 January by Brasseries et glacières internationales (BGI), Castel’s subsidiary, which owns a 73.66% interest in the Cameroon-based brewing company Société anonyme des brasseries du Cameroun (SABC), the Dutch company Heineken sold 501,977 of its shares in SABC to BGI, representing 8.75% of the capital, for an estimated 42.3bn CFA francs (€64.5m).

At the beginning of the year, BGI launched a simplified tender offer targeting, on top of Heineken, all of the free float shareholders (7.58% of shares), including 400 small local shareholders accounting for 5.59% of the company’s shares.

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Castel’s subsidiary, which was offering €128.50 per share, is looking to control at least 92.2% of SABC’s capital jointly with the National Investment Corporation of Cameroon (Société nationale d’investissement du Cameroun – SNI), which holds a 10% stake in BGI.

Delisting from Paris Euronext Stock Exchange

Although the acquisition was officially completed in June, negotiations to achieve the desired shareholding are still underway. The tender offer will also allow SABC, headed by Emmanuel de Tailly, to delist from trading on the Euronext Stock Exchange in Paris, as required by regulations when a majority shareholder owns at least 90% of a company’s shares.

Very few transactions in SABC shares have taken place on the stock market over the past few years. In SABC’s view, maintaining the listing of SABC shares is thus no longer a factor likely to ensure it better financing conditions. On the contrary, it is a source of additional costs,” BGI said in a statement regarding its tender offer.

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Furthermore, the delisting will enable SABC to be in compliance with Cameroon’s regulations, which require that all shares issued by local companies be centralised by the Bank of Central African States (BEAC), which now acts as central securities depository in the new regional financial market.

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Cameroon’s leading food business, SABC – controlled by Investment Beverage Business Fund (IBB Fund), an investment vehicle owned by Castel and registered in Singapore – reported revenue of close to 310bn CFA francs and profit of 16.6bn CFA francs in 2019.