Competition Tribunal finally approves Heineken and Distell merger 

After months of back-and-forth negotiations, the Competition Tribunal has conditionally approved Heineken’s proposed R40.1bn acquisition of South Africa’s largest liquor firm Distell. 

The go-ahead from South Africa’s Competition Tribunal marks the final regulatory approval, following those received from the Namibia Competition Commission, the Common Market of Eastern & Southern Africa and all other relevant jurisdictions. Shareholder elections are expected in two weeks and the transaction is expected to be implemented in April, Heineken said in a statement. 

Distell is Africa’s largest producer and marketer of ciders, flavoured alcoholic beverages, wines and spirits, owning prominent brands including Savannah, Nederburg, Klipdrift, Amarula and Hunters Dry, while Namibia Breweries Limited is the beer market leader in Namibia with brands including Windhoek and Tafel. 

The move is the perfect storm for Heineken as now they can go to town and compete with its biggest rival AB InBev. “It paves the way for the creation of a regional African beverage champion,” reads Heineken’s statement. 

“We are delighted the Competition Tribunal has approved the deal. We are very excited to bring together three strong businesses to create a regional beverage champion, with a unique multi-category offer to better serve consumers, and customers and create shared societal value across southern Africa,” said Heineken’s CEO and chairman of the executive board Dolf van den Brink 

“We are committed to being a strong partner for growth and making a positive impact in the communities in which we operate, and the proactive and comprehensive public interest package we’ve put forward is a testament to that.”

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