Banks Holdings now owned by Brazilian company, ANSA McAl loses bid

-sale of Banks DIH shares key factor

(Barbados Nation) Banks Holdings Limited (BHL) is no longer a Barbadian-owned company.

The iconic Bajan brand is now under the control of Brazilian beer giant AmBev, which for the past three months has been locked in a fierce takeover war with Trinidadian conglomerate ANSA McAL.

On Monday, chairman of BHL, Anthony King, confirmed to the DAILY NATION that it was BHL’s Guyanese namesake – Banks DIH Guyana Limited – that sealed the deal for AmBev’s subsidiary SLU Beverages to get ownership of BHL.

He acknowledged that Banks DIH Guyana Limited sold the more than 6.5 million BHL shares it owned to AmBev last week in a trade worth more than Bds$42 million on the Barbados Stock Exchange. The stock was sold at Bds$7.10 per share.

Meanwhile, after spending tens of millions of dollars acquiring shares in Banks Holdings Limited (BHL), Trinidadian giant ANSA McAL will wait on the Supreme Court of Barbados before making its next move.

Barbados’ Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson had on November 13 lifted an injunction to halt the trading of BHL shares, a decision which ANSA McAL is currently appealing.

The Trinidadian company lost the battle for BHL on Monday, when Brazilian brewery behemoth AmBev was able to acquire more than 50 per cent of the BHL shares, ending a more than three-month battle for the former Barbadian-owned company.

ANSA McAL now owns millions of shares in the AmBev-owned company, and will have to make a decision on if to remain a minority shareholder, or if to sell those shares back to the new owners.

“The matter is still before the courts. We still consider it a live matter,” ANSA McAL (Barbados) Chief Executive Officer, Nicholas Mouttet said earlier yesterday during a press conference at the Accra Beach Hotel. “In due course, we will make an announcement of our intentions. It would be inappropriate to comment on that now.”

Mouttet said the company, though losing, had enhanced its status by battling the larger and more powerful AmBev, and would continue to seek more acquisitions in Barbados and the rest of the region, as part of its growth strategy.

“In spite of the outcome, ANSA McAL has brought tremendous value to this deal for all BHL shareholders and invested heavily in championing and protecting shareholder rights,” Mouttet added.

“As one of the Caribbean’s largest conglomerates, we will continue to stand for the highest levels of corporate governance, and we remain committed to our mission of being leaders in the brewery sector in this region.”

-sale of Banks DIH shares key factor