Mexico’s FEMSA to sell stake in Heineken

Mexico’s FEMSA announced on Monday it would sell 5% of a 20% stake it holds in Dutch brewer Heineken NV. The stake is said to be worth about €2.5bn ($3bn).

Heineken’s relationship with FEMSA began in 2010 when the Dutch brewer acquired the beer business of FEMSA which gave the Mexican firm a 20% stake in Heineken.

L’Arche Green NV, the company through which the Heineken family controls Heineken Holding NV, said it would acquire €200m of the €2.5bn in shares FEMSA was putting up for sale.

“The participation of L’Arche Green NV in the share offering by FEMSA underlines the long-term commitment of the Heineken family towards the Heineken Company,” the company said in a statement.

FEMSA and Heineken fell out in July following the Dutch brewer’s acquisition of Japanese brewer Kirin’s Brazil beer business. Heineken said after the purchase it will end FEMSA’s distribution contract of Kirin’s beer brands in Brazil.

FEMSA which is the world’s largest Coca-Cola bottler by volume had been distributing Kirin’s beer brands in Brazil through its Coca-Cola franchise in the country. Following Heineken’s decision to terminate the contract, the company said it disagreed with Heineken’s notice to end the distribution contract, saying it believed it would end in 2022.

“We are currently studying the implementation of possible actions, and in the meantime, we are looking for a constructive dialogue with Heineken,” Femsa said in its Q2 result report.

Heineken indicated it wants to bring the distribution of the brands in-house so it can leverage the scale and stronger commercial platform of the enlarged unit.

FEMSA said that despite the sale, it still holds a positive view of Heineken as a long term investment.

“We have long held a very positive view of Heineken as a long-term investment. The transaction announced today does not represent or reflect a change in our view or expectations. However, the equity offering will allow us to partially monetise our position while retaining our existing governance rights in Heineken, taking advantage of the favorable tax treatment afforded by the repatriations decree issued by the Mexican government … we plan to invest the proceeds of the equity offering to support our growth initiatives in Mexico in the coming years,” the company said.

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