By Gabriel Omoh
Nigerian Breweries Plc Monday said that it has acquired majority equity interests in Sona Systems Associates Business Management Limited, (Sona Systems) and Life Breweries Company Limited from Heineken N.V. This transaction follows Heineken’s acquisition of controlling interests in five breweries in Nigeria from the Sona Group in January 2011.
A statement by Ageni Yusuf, Corporate Affairs Adviser to Nigeria Breweries said “The transaction had been approved by shareholders of Nigerian Breweries Plc at the company’s 65th Annual General Meeting in May this year.
“This follows an earlier recommendation by thAe Board of Directors which has been supported by third party professional advisers. The transaction, which has also been approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), is effective October 1, 2011.”
According to Yusuf Sona Systems’ two breweries in Ota and Kaduna, and Life Breweries in Onitsha will now become part of Nigerian Breweries Plc, together with the three brands: Goldberg lager, Malta Gold and Life Continental lager.
Mr Nicolaas Vervelde, Managing Director/Chief Executive, Nigerian Breweries Plc, said, “The addition of these three breweries will enable us to address our existing capacity constraints as well as significantly broaden our geographic spread and strengthen our brand portfolio”.
Welcoming employees of Sona Systems and Life Breweries, Mr Vervelde said, “I am excited to welcome you as members of the Nigerian Breweries family. I truly believe that together we have a great opportunity to grow our business and strengthen our market position for the benefit of our customers and consumers and the country as a whole.”
Nigerian Breweries Plc, incorporated in 1946 is the pioneer and leading beverage company in Nigeria. It currently operates breweries in Lagos, Aba, Kaduna, Ibadan, Enugu, and a Malting Plant in Aba. It brews and markets Star lager beer, Gulder lager, Heineken lager, Legend Extra stout, Maltina, Amstel Malta, Fayrouz and Climax herbal energy drink.
Heineken NV, which has majority interests in Nigerian Breweries Plc and Consolidated Breweries Plc, in January this year acquired two holding companies from the Sona Group with controlling interests in each of Sona, IBBI, Benue, Life and Champion breweries and announced its intention to explore the possibility of consolidating the newly acquired breweries into its existing businesses in Nigeria.
The move was seen as a positive indication of Heineken’s abiding confidence in the Nigerian economy under the new administration and a good sign that will attract more direct foreign investment to the country.