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Drinks

AB InBev to Sell Stake in Distell to South African Fund PIC

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV agreed to sell SABMiller Plc’s stake in South African drinks maker Distell Group Ltd. to Africa’s largest pension administrator, clearing another regulatory hurdle in the brewing industry’s biggest-ever deal.

The Public Investment Corp. will buy the 26.4 percent stake in the maker of Amarula liquor and Klipdrift brandy, the Leuven-based company said in a statement Thursday, without disclosing the price. The holding is worth 8.92 billion rand ($640 million), based on Wednesday’s close. AB InBev shares fell 1 percent in early Brussels trading. Distell rose 1.1 percent in Johannesburg.

PIC, which oversees the bulk of the South African government’s pension fund money with almost 2 trillion rand in assets under management, “most likely got their share at some discount, which means that maybe AB InBev had to take a bit of a knock on the price,” Izak van Niekerk, an analyst at Mergence Investment Managers, said by phone.

The sale of the stake brings AB InBev closer to meeting antitrust commitments that allowed it to buy SABMiller for about $100 billion. Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. agreed to buy SABMiller’s central and eastern European assets on Wednesday for 7.3 billion euros ($7.7 billion).

Johann Rupert’s Remgro Ltd. and Capevin, which together own about 53 percent of Distell, decided not to exercise preemptive rights on Distell shares, AB InBev said. Remgro Chief Executive Officer Jannie Durand had previously said Remgro and Capevin would be interested in purchasing the stake in the maker of Savanna Dry cider at the right price. Shares in Capevin fell 0.9 percent, trimming an earlier decline of 9.7 percent.

The sale is conditional on approval by South African antitrust authorities.

News by Bloomberg, edited by ESM. To subscribe to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine, click here.

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