Heineken bids $287 million for Al-Ahram Beverages

20 September 2002

Netherlands-based Heineken International on 12 September submitted a bid worth $287 million to buy 100 per cent of Al-Ahram Beverages Company (ABC), Egypt's sole producer of beer, wine and spirits (MEED 13:9:02, Industry)

The offer, priced at $14 a share for the company's 20.49 million shares, remains open until 25 September. Most of ABC's shares are publicly traded. A group of US investors named the Luxor Group bought a 75 per cent stake in the firm in 1997 as part of its privatisation, and subsequently floated most of these shares on the Egyptian stock exchange and in the form of global depositary receipts (GDRs). Since the Heineken offer was announced the GDRs have been converted into ordinary Egyptian-listed shares. ABC shares were trading at about $12 ahead of the announcement that an acquisition was in prospect. The company's share price had slumped to about $7 at the end of 2001.

Heineken says it views the planned acquisition as part of its strategy of securing a dominant market share in the Mediterranean region and Africa. The company already operates in 13 African countries, including Morocco, where it has a small stake in Brasseries du Maroc.

Since privatisation, ABC's facilities have been extensively modernised, and the company in 2000 opened a brand new brewery outside Cairo. Heineken officials say the company does not envisage any major new investments once the acquisition has been completed. ABC's products will continue to be marketed under their existing brands. The company's annual turnover is just over $100 million.

Heineken's advisers on the deal are Fieldstone Private Capital Group, Credit Suisse First Bostonand EFG-Hermes Investment Banking.

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