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Heineken extends dominance of Nigerian brewery market with potential Champion Breweries takeover

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Beer maker Heineken B.V. is on track to expand its control of the Nigerian brewery business, after racking up further 1,903,609,538 ordinary shares of Champion Breweries Plc in a move bringing its stake in the Uyo-based brewer to 84.7 per cent.

That translates to 6,632,917,789 shares.

Heineken, headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands, consummated the share acquisition through its Nigerian subsidiary, Raysun Nigeria Limited, putting it in a strong position as the majority shareholder to make a takeover attempt.

It will help broaden its dominance beyond Nigeria’s most capitalised beverage maker, Nigerian Breweries Plc, where Heineken wields 37.94 per cent stake via ownership of 3,034,100,563 shares.

Consumers in Nigeria, Brazil and the United Kingdom – the brewer’s three biggest markets – drank 1 million hectolitres of Heineken brands in the 12 months of 2019, according to its 2019 financial results.

Heineken’s financial statements for the third quarter of 2020 showed beer volumes for its Nigerian operations jumped by about 18 per cent ahead of the market at a time when a countrywide coronavirus lockdown forbade pubs, beer parlours and night clubs from running.

Raysun purchased 1,903,609,538 shares of Champion Breweries shares at N2.60 per unit at a total of N4,949,384,799 on January 7, its notification of share dealing by insiders obtained from the Nigerian Stock Exchange showed.

Raysun held 60.4 per cent interest in the brewer as of December 31, 2019, according to its annual report for the year in question, meaning its latest 24.3 per cent acquisition of Champion Breweries shares has catapulted its total holding in the company to 84.7 per cent, easily giving it a leverage to launch a takeover bid.

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Asset Management Nominee and Akwa Ibom Investment Corporation, which held 12.3 per cent and 10 per cent holdings respectively in the company prior to Heineken’s latest round of share purchase, were the other substantial shareholders in Champion Breweries.

Incorporated in Nigeria in 1974, Champion Breweries started bottling beer in 1976, with an initial capacity of 150,000 hectolitres of beer and 10,000 hectolitres of malt drink.

Heineken began heaping up Champion Breweries shares in 2014 when it took a strategic position in the company by procuring 57 per cent equity.

Shares in Champion Breweries closed trade on the NSE on Thursday at N1.23 per share, gaining almost the 10 per cent daily ceiling allowed by the bourse.

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The stock has appreciated by more than 32% per cent since Heineken’s latest share acquisition last Thursday.

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