Distell postpones restructuring deadline again after delays
By Ann Crotty - Jan 30th 2018, 09:56
"What’s another two months when you’ve been waiting almost nine years," was the response of one weary Distell shareholder to news that the closing date for the restructuring had been pushed out to April 6 from January 29.
Distell informed shareholders on Monday that the deadline for completion of the restructuring of control had to be postponed by two months. No specific reason was given but the statement did refer to the need to secure approvals from competition authorities in a number of jurisdictions. "The process to obtain these consents from the relevant competition authorities is … taking longer than originally anticipated," Distell said.
A company spokesman said that the delay had nothing to do with shareholder activist Albie Cilliers’s challenge to the Takeover Regulation Panel’s ruling. That challenge was heard and the previous ruling confirmed last week.
In recent years Distell has focused considerable attention on building its international exposure particularly in the UK, US, China and rest of Africa. The group has been making significant investments in East Africa over several years and employs hundreds of sales staff to market its successful cider brands as well as its ready-to-drink offerings. It has also been bumping up its exposure in Angola.
Although the company did not refer to any specific jurisdictions, one competition lawyer said there was little doubt the delay related to the South African competition authorities. "They are building a presence in other markets but right now they do not have a strong enough position to warrant a delay in any other jurisdiction."
A delay with the local competition authorities could be explained by the year-end slowdown or by the introduction of conditions to the commission’s approval that might relate to Distell’s black economic empowerment profile.© BusinessLIVE MMXVIII
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