Champion Breweries: Heineken’s Seizure Causes Dissent

COVID-19: Heineken To Cut 8,000 Jobs Globally

Some minority shareholders of Champion Breweries Plc kicked against the bid by Raysun Nigeria Limited to take over the company 100 per cent, saying the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is not doing enough to guard investors in the nation’s capital market.

Therefore, the shareholders have written to SEC to stop The Rassun Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of Heineken Heineken N.V, majority owners of Nigerian Breweries Plc, from buying out the minority shareholders. The shareholders ask that the company be merged with Nigerian Breweries as Heineken did with previous acquisitions in Nigeria.

SEC recently approved Raysun Nigeria Limited to proceed with the proposed Mandatory Takeover Offer (MTO) for 1,196,799,164 ordinary shares of Champion Breweries Plc at N2.60 per share. These shares represent the remaining 15.3 per cent stake in the company that the Dutch brewery does not yet own.

In a letter to the Commissioner, Compliance, SEC, shareholders under the aegis of Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN) are asking the MTO be stopped because it did not follow due process, and it is in being done in bad fate to delist from the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX).

“The core investor has sought an MTO of the Champion Breweries Plc, which may result in the eventual delisting of its shares, a position we feel is detrimental to the interest of the minority investors.

“We also understand that SEC approved the MTO without a tender paper indicating the approved buy-back price and other relevant details of the transaction.  In the same vein, the NGX’s free float regulations require minimum local ownership, which appears not to be obtainable in the current ownership structure.”

PSAN  added, “We would like to know what offence the minority shareholders have committed not to be invited to an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) where issues on the proposed MTO may have been adequately explained and due process followed to ensure that the interest of the common investor is protected.”

In the letter signed by its National Chairman, Mr. Boniface Okezie, the association said it would like to know why SEC  gave approval for  MTO  where minority shareholders’ interests are always at stake.

The shareholders lamented that the regulator is not doing enough to protect minority shareholders, a development, it said is causing low patronage of the capital market

PSAN disclosed that Champion Breweries Plc was revived through the efforts of the minority shareholder, including the Akwa Ibom Government, but they were about to be denied reaping the benefits of their investments through the MTO.

Therefore, they have resolved that none of their shares, including the  11 per cent owned by Akwa Ibom State, would not be offered for sale to achieve the MTO.

“We rather propose that a merger between the company and any other suitable match would be a more reasonable approach as has been done in the past by the same core investor instead of delisting the company shares.

“We request that shareholders be allowed to endorse a potential deal formally at an EGM where all stakeholder interests are represented. We have no issue with the core investor if they want to divest their investment, which there are at liberty too, but we insist that the core investor desists from practices that can endanger the fortunes of other minority investors in the company,” they declared.

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