Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Heineken compiling list of willing sellers of Red Stripe shares

Published:Sunday | May 28, 2017 | 5:00 AMSteven Jackson

Heineken International now controls nearly 96 per cent of Desnoes & Geddes Limited, which trades as Red Stripe Jamaica, but may be willing to buy up the rest.

The directors of Desnoes & Geddes are now telling minority shareholders, who may want to sell shares, to contact law firm DunnCox, which represents Heineken.

Nearly $3 billion worth of D&G shares remain outside of the direct control of Heineken, according to Gleaner Business estimates based on the number of units in the hands of minority shareholders and the acquisition price of the stock in its final month prior to delisting.

Heineken in late 2015 acquired D&G for US$0.259 per share or roughly $30 per share. The stock continued to trade on the Jamaican exchange until its delisting at the end of March 2016, at which time the price had fallen to $24 per share.

"The offer would not be the same price as the original offer," said D&G company secretary Gene Douglas at the beer maker's annual general meeting on Thursday at Red Stripe's headquarters in Kingston.

"So would the price be going up or down?" asked a shareholder, to no avail.

"We don't know. I cannot speak for Heineken," responded chairman Richard Byles.

 

SERIES OF ERRORS

 

The shareholder told the directors that thousands of his units were not acquired by Heineken. He blamed it on a series of errors between his broker and the Jamaica Central Securities Depository.

"I expected to make a windfall," the shareholder added about his 9,000 units that he had acquired at $5 per share. "For some reason, none of the shares were bought."

In response, Douglas told the shareholder and others in a similar situation to contact Roxanne Miller at DunnCox.

Miller confirmed to Gleaner Business that she is compiling a list of willing sellers of D&G shares for Heineken's consideration. However, she declined to comment on whether Heineken would be buying up the shares.

"Any instruction from my client is private, and I would have to get instructions from Heineken to make a comment," Miller said.

There are 2.809 billion units of D&G shares. Up to March 2017, Heineken Beverage Switzerland AG held 2.69 billion or 95.78 per cent, leaving 118.6 million shares or 4.22 per cent in the hands of minority owners.

The largest blocks of minority shares are held by Bardi Limited, 84.2 million or three per cent, an entity registered to 214 Spanish Town Road, which is Red Stripe's headquarters; Caribbean Development Company Limited, 2.5 million units; and Estate-KL Davidson with 1.26 million units.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com