Carlsberg Breweries AS of Copenhagen has ended its 49-year romance with Malawi following the sale of 59.48 percent stakes in Carlsberg Malawi.
The shares have been acquired by the French beverage company, Castel Group for an undisclosed fee.
The acquisition of the shares by Castel follows the failure by Press Corporation Limited, which owns 39.65 percent in Carlsberg Malawi, to exercise pre-emptive rights to buy Carlsberg Breweries shares.
Clause 9.2 of the shareholders Agreement between PCL and Carlsberg provides that in the event that either of the parties wishes to dispose of part of or all its shares, it shall first offer to the other party at a price corresponding to the market value of such shares or the price offered by a bona fide independent third party.
Carlsberg Malawi Group Chief Executive Officer, Matthews Chikaonda, who is also PCL Group Chief Executive Officer, confirmed in a statement on Wednesday that his firm did not exercise its pre-emptive rights in as far as Carlsberg Breweries shares are concerned.
“Carlsberg duly offered PCL the opportunity to purchase the shares at the price offered by Castel. The offer was irrevocable and open for acceptance for 30 days from the date of receipt, that is, 5th of July 2016.
“Lack of response from PCL within this deadline, including an acceptance given after the expiry of this deadline constituted a rejection of the offer. The offer was to be accepted in its entirety by PCL and as such, partial acceptance constituted a rejection of the offer.
“Having considered the implications of exercising the pre-emptive rights, the PCL board of directors resolved to waive PCL’s rights to purchase the said shares,” Chikaonda said.
He was, however, quick to note that as part of the agreement, the Carlsberg Group has signed a licence agreement with Carlsberg Malawi Limited to continue to produce Carlsberg beer in Malawi for the next 10 years.
He observed that the decision by Carlsberg Breweries AS to sell their shareholding in Carlsberg Malawi is in line with the focus of their current strategy to deliver value from its strong position in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Asia but not to run breweries in Africa.
Chikaonda could, however, not indicate how many jobs would be lost at Carlsberg Malawi following the acquisition of controlling stakes by Castel.
He, however, said the move by Castel sends a powerful signal that Malawi is still a good investment destination.
Established in Bordeaux France in 1949 by nine siblings, the Castel Group is an internationally recognised name, backed by a range of acclaimed brands and charteux and with an established presence in over 130 countries across the globe.
Castel is the largest wine producer in Europe, number two for beers and soft drinks in Africa after SABMiller and number three for wines worldwide after Constellation Brands and Gallo.
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