Carlsberg Group has signed an agreement to sell the entire 59 percent stake of Carlsberg Malawi Limited (CML), an associated company of dual-listed conglomerate Press Corporation Limited (PCL), to privately-owned French beverage company, Castel Group.
PCL, in a statement signed by group chief executive officer Mathews Chikaonda, who is also CML chairperson, said the move was done in line with focus of the Carlsberg Breweries A/S’s current strategy.
He said: “Carlsberg Breweries A/S aims to deliver value from its strong positions in Western Europe and Asia, but not to run breweries in Africa. On the other hand, the Castel Group’s strategy entails greater concentration in Africa as well as Europe.”
Chikaonda said as part of the agreement, the Carlsberg Group has signed a licence agreement with Castel Group to continue to produce Carlsberg beer in Malawi for the next 10 years; hence, consumer market will not notice any change and the portfolio will remain.
He said the move, on the other hand, sends a powerful signal that Malawi is still a good investment destination.
According to Chikaonda, PCL will remain a significant shareholder in Carlsberg Malawi.
A separate statement from CML quoted Carlsberg Group executive vice-president for Asia Graham Fewkes as saying the transaction is in line with Carlsberg Group’s new strategy.
He said: “We will continue to be present in Africa, and I am happy that our partners will continue to provide our great beers to the people of Malawi.”
Normally, issues of this nature have to be approved by the Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) to check any anti-competitive tendencies, among others.
But CFTC executive director Wezi Malonda said in an interview yesterday they were yet to received any communication from Carlsberg Malawi.
Until the signing of the agreement, the shareholding structure in Carlsberg Malawi consisted of PCL with 39.7 percent shareholding, minorities at 0.86 percent before the 59.48 percent shareholding of Carlsberg Breweries A/S was sold to Castel.
Castel Group is a French beverage company established in Bordeaux in1949 by nine siblings. It has established presence in 130 countries and a presence on all five continents.