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Heineken’s Nigeria Unit Says It’s Under Police Investigation

Updated on
  • Brewer’s former fuel supplier petioned authorities for probe
  • Nigerian Breweries says wife of managing director targeted

The Nigerian unit of Dutch brewer Heineken NV is under police investigation after a former supplier complained to the government.

Lawyers for TMDK Oil Traders Ltd. petitioned the minister of justice and attorney-general to start the probe after the company’s three-year contract to provide fuel to the brewer lapsed in September, Nigerian Breweries Plc said in a statement on the Nigerian Stock Exchange’s website on Tuesday.

“Recently, some managers in Nigerian Breweries have been asked to report to the force headquarters” for questioning, the Lagos-based company said in the statement. “It appears that the petition is targeted at persons connected to Nigerian Breweries, including the wife of our managing director” Nicolaas Vervelde.

While TMDK complained of “bias” when it bid for a new contract, Nigerian Breweries’ auditors concluded otherwise after an internal investigation, according to the statement. It didn’t provide further detail of the allegations.

Nigerian Breweries, the biggest beer-maker in the West African nation, is co-operating with police, it said. The shares fell 1.4 percent, the most since Jan. 3, to 142.5 naira in Lagos by the close on Tuesday. The company made the announcement after the market closed.

The stock is still up 39 percent in the last year, beating the benchmark index’s 9.4 percent gain and the 37 percent loss for its main rival, Guinness Nigeria Plc, which is majority-owned by London-based Diageo Plc.

(Updates with stock performance in last paragraph.)
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