Dual-listed conglomerate Press Corporation Limited (PCL) has sold its 10 percent shareholding in Bottling and Brewing Group Limited (BBGL), now Carlsberg Malawi, to its joint venture partner, Carlsberg Denmark A/S.
Carlsberg A/S is one of the world’s largest brewing companies with more than three quarters of the brewery’s sales coming from outside Denmark.
The company operates brewing facilities in Singapore, Malawi, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong, Cyprus and a number of other countries and maintains licensing agreement for distribution of its brands in 150 countries worldwide.
Effectively, this means that PCL’s shareholding in Carlsberg Malawi has slumped to 39.65 percent from 49.57 percent, the company said in a joint statement signed by chairperson Clement Chilingulo and chief executive officer Matthews Chikaonda.
“BBGL is, therefore, now an associated company and was accounted for as such during the period ,” said the statement.
The company, listed on the Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE) and London Stock Exchange (LSE), has not explained the cost of offloading the stake and the reasons for the action.
But MSE operations manager John Kamanga said yesterday that any transaction that is below 10 percent is ‘immaterial’ that it only requires disclosure through the interim results or a financial statement.
“PCL has thus duly complied with the listing requirements of the Malawi Stock Exchange. If the transaction is beyond 30 percent and beyond, then a company is supposed to notify the MSE,” he said.
Carlsberg A/S has interests in a few businesses outside brewing as well. Most notably, the company owns Royal Scandinavia A/S, makers of renowned fine porcelain, silverware and glassware.
Carlsberg also owns 43 percent interest in Tivoli Garden, a well-known amusement park in Copenhagen.
In 2012, PCL also exercised its pre-emption rights and bought Metcash Holdings’ 50 percent shareholding in People’s Trading Centre (PTC), and is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of the conglomerate.
PCL has stake in the financial services, agro-industry, energy and telecommunications.
In the year ended December 2012, PCL’s profit-after-tax increased by 55 percent to K9.5 billion (about $23.7m) from K6.1 billion (about $15.2m) the year before, largely propelled by “exceptional results” in financial services, agro-industrial and energy whose earnings more than doubled.
The financial services sector anchored by National Bank of Malawi (NBM) registered 113 percent growth in earnings as a result of improved operating efficiencies and growth in international trade and treasury.
Also, earnings from tobacco processing business at Limbe Leaf Company of Malawi were 180 percent up on last year largely due to increased volume of tobacco processed buoyed by high carry over stock from the year before.
The company said the energy segment achieved good results pushed by increased earnings from ethanol manufacturing at Presscane in Chikhwawa and Ethanol Company Limited (Ethcol) in Nkhotakota.
However, the telecommunications segment anchored by Malawi Telecommunications Limited (MTL) and MSE—listed TNM plc was affected by the devaluation of the kwacha in May 2012; hence, incurring K5.7 billion (about $14.2m) in exchange losses in foreign currency denominated loans related to capacity expansion project.
The fisheries business at Maldeco in Mangochi continued to make losses mainly due to the decline in fish catches due to changing weather patterns and the inability to produce enough fish from the cages.
On the MSE, PCL share price closed at K188 on Thursday.