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Remgro keen on SABMiller’s stake in Distell

| Wine and liquor

The controlling shareholder of Distell Group would be interested in buying SABMiller’s holding in the South African winemaker should the brewer sell its 27-percent stake as a result of a takeover.

SABMiller, the subject of a proposed $106 billion offer from Anheuser Busch InBev, has an agreement giving a company jointly owned by Remgro and Capevin Investments the right of first refusal on a sale of the stake, Remgro’s Chief Executive Officer Jannie Durand said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.

“Remgro and Capevin have a pre-emptive right over that stake and would consider exercising that right if the price was right,” Durand said. Remgro hasn’t had talks with SABMiller about the Distell shares, he said. SABMiller declined to comment.

Distell is valued at R37.8 billion in Johannesburg, where its stock trades. Based on that, SABMiller’s stake is worth about R10.2 billion. Buying the holding in the maker of Savanna Dry cider and Scottish Leader whiskey would increase the joint venture’s control from the current 53 percent.

Remgro’s interest was first reported by Johannesburg-based newspaper Business Day. The South African investment company, controlled by billionaire Johann Rupert, has a 15.6 percent stake in Capevin, according to data complied by Bloomberg. Capevin is an investment holding company for a group of companies which distill, mature, refine and distribute spirits and wines.

Stellenbosch, South Africa-based Distell said August 19 that full-year sales growth by volume accelerated as a focus on pricing and an increase in outlets helped offset flagging consumer demand in its home market. The shares have climbed 25 percent this year and traded at R170 at 4.33pm on Wednesday in Johannesburg.


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