Bank on us
Trinidadian group makes strong play for BHL
Regional conglomerate Ansa McAL has declared that its share offer is “best for Banks” and “best for Barbados”.
Yesterday, the Trinidad and Tobago headquartered group, upped the stakes in the takeover bid for the island’s largest beverage manufacturer, which has already received a tender offer from SLU Beverages Limited, which is controlled by the Brazilian corporation Ambev.
Seven days before Ambev’s offer to pay shareholders $4.00 to acquire majority shares was set to expire, ANSA McAL, through its subsidiary A.M Caribbean Development Ventures Limited, countered with a $5.20 offer, $1.20 more or a 30 per cent premium to that of its competitor.
“We are pleased to put a superior offer on the table that we believe is best for Banks, best for Barbados and that will address some of the issues raised by stakeholders in the media over the last couple of weeks,” said Nicholas Mouttet, president and chief executive officer of ANSA McAL Barbados, in a statement issued this evening.
The ANSA McAL head honcho also said he was encouraged by the level of initial interest and outlined big plans for the BHL group, which owns Banks Breweries, Pine Hill Dairy, Barbados Bottling Co. Ltd and Banks Distribution Ltd.
Mouttet also assured that if successful with its current bid, ANSA McAL, which already operates a range of companies in trading and distribution, manufacturing, packaging and brewery, insurance, financial services, media and service industries, said BHL would retain its name and remain in Bridgetown.
“At the close of the proposed transaction, BHL will remain a stand alone business with the Banks name, iconic value and headquarters unchanged.”
He said the acquisition would permit his company to consolidate English speaking Caribbean beer brands, joining Carib, Stag, Mackeson and Red Stripe and result in new business development plans for BHL.
“ANSA McAL intends to utilize Barbados’ location, quality of people and management expertise to expand the Barbados based production entities into regional champions. The plan is to grow and accelerate the development of the manufacturing platform in Barbados and enhance competitiveness, thus supporting Government policy as articulated in the National Strategic Plan.”
The ANSA McAL offer has caught the eye of the Concerned BHL Shareholders group, which issued a statement today saying, “it is refreshing to know that the offer from AMBEV has been challenged.
“We are pleased that the second offer, lodged by ANSA McAL is on par with the $5.20 per share “fair market value” price specified by accounting firm KPMG in their circular from the BHL directors last week.
“We believe as shareholders in BHL, we have every right to receive the best value for our shares. As such, we look forward to any other offers and invite BHL shareholders to consider the big picture and the long-term implications of the choice we make.”
The group was however quick to point out that it “was stepping cautiously until we have fully examined the official document setting out the terms of the new offer”.
Earlier this month AMBEV officials visited Barbados, and expressed confidence in the Banks Brand, saying they wanted to help the company reach its full potential while earning the island more foreign exchange.
Said Ambev’s Vice-President for Central America and Caribbean operations Edwardo Lacerda: “The country will benefit from additional exports that we want to make. The employees will have not only possibility to grow in their careers within Barbados but also they will be part of an international company and therefore be able to grow their careers internationally. And the population will have a company investing in the local market and the local brand and try to make it as good as possible. And as a possibility of bringing new brands to the market that are part of our international portfolio. So I see this as a win-win opportunity for everyone.”
BHL announced on Monday that it would not advise shareholders whether they should sell or retain their shares.