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Ambev triumphs in battle for Banks beer

Published:Friday | December 11, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Ambev triumphs in battle for Banks beer

The Brazilian brewery Ambev appeared to have taken control of Barbados Holding Limited (BHL), even as the courts were preparing to hear arguments regarding the sale of the beverage company and brewery.

Ambev, Latin America's largest brewery, and the Trinidad-based conglomerate ANSA McAL had been engaged in a bidding war to take control of BHL, which produces Barbados' Banks beer.

But in a formal notice to shareholders, Ambev subsidiary SLU Beverages said it had acquired 6,054,354 BHL shares at BDS$7.10 per share last week Wednesday on the floor of the Barbados Stock Exchange, effectively increasing its shareholding in BHL to just over 50 per cent.

In a director's circular issued last weekend and signed by BHL Chairman G. Anthony King, shareholders were advised to accept the SLU offer and reject ANSA McAL's, even though the Trinidad conglomerate had bid 10 cents higher at BDS$7.20 per share.

The directors took issue with the third offer made by the Trinidadian company, which came with a new condition stipulating that unless ANSA acquired 51 per cent or more of the shares, it would withdraw its offer.

"Due to the trades on the floor of the BSE on December 2 and 3, 2015, SLU, on settlement, will control just over 50 per cent of the outstanding share capital of BHL. This means that the condition introduced by AMC in the AMC Amended Offer No. 3 cannot be satisfied unless SLU decides to sell shares it already owns to AMC," said the director's circular.

"We have no information to suggest that this is foreseeable," the directors warned, adding that "it is now arithmetically impossible for AMC and its affiliates (ANSA McAL) to acquire 51 per cent of the shares in BHL without a sale of shares to them by SLU".

Attorneys for ANSA McAL were due in court today, Friday, to argue against the November 14 decision by Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson to lift a

week-long injunction, which blocked the sale of BHL.