Egypt brewery s'holders agree to Heineken takeover

Cairo - Egypt's Al-Ahram Beverages Co (ABC) said shareholders overwhelmingly approved Wednesday Dutch brewer Heineken's $287m takeover bid.

Shareholders agreed to sell 98% of the company at the $14 a share price offered by Heineken, chairperson Ahmed El-Zayat told reporters. ABC has around 20.5 million shares.

Heineken's bid was conditioned on it acquiring 76% of ABC, the only brewery in Egypt. The Cairo and Alexandria Stock Exchange (CASE) regulatory authority has ruled against an accusation of insider trading made by former shareholders, and the transfer of ownership will be done Sunday, Zayat said.

Under the deal with Heineken, ABC will retain its name, its current management, and there will be no layoffs, he said. ABC's sales advisor, Cairo-based EFG-Hermes Securities Brokerage, has said the takeover is the "largest private merger and aquisition deal in Egypt."

ABC became last year the only beer maker in Egypt, after it acquired its competitor, El Gouna Beverages Group. The beer brands of both, Al-Ahram's Stella and El Gouna's Sakkara, have continued since the acquisition.

ABC's market capitalisation stood at around £882m ($191m) on July 31, ranking 23rd on the CASE. It has around 4 000 employees.

The company also produces wines and soft drinks. It was privatised in two stages, in 1996 and 1997. - Sapa-AFP

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