Remgro Interested in SABMiller's 27% Stake in Winemaker Distell

  • SABMiller and Remgro not held talks on a possible Distell sale
  • Distell brands include Savanna Dry and Scottish Leader

The controlling shareholder of Distell Group Ltd. would be interested in buying SABMiller Plc’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 NV, has an agreement giving a company jointly owned by Remgro Ltd. 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 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 37.8 billion rand ($2.8 billion) in Johannesburg, where its stock trades. Based on that, SABMiller’s stake is worth about 10.2 billion rand. 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 Aug. 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 170 rand at 4:33 p.m. in Johannesburg.

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