Carlos Brito, Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) Chief Executive, jetted into the country on Tuesday night to begin a road show and charm offensive ahead of the global brewer’s listing on the JSE on Friday.
The world’s largest brewer’s Johannesburg listing is part of a broader strategy to acquire SABMiller, the second-largest beer maker, for which it made a £44 per share takeover offer. It pledged to retain a domestic listing for the combined entity.
Among the stakeholders Brito would meet were government executives and regulators, sources close to the company said last night. The Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which owns about 3.1 percent of SABMiller stock, is one of the larger investors Brito will meet.
The manager of the pensions of state employees was critical to AB InBev’s success in bidding for SABMiller, which has since recommended that its investors accept the estimated R1.4-trillion offer. “We are pleased with the listing. It gives us an alternative to hold a bigger, more geographically diverse asset,” PIC CE Daniel Matjila said on Tuesday.
The PIC, however, tabled preconditions before accepting AB InBev’s advances. It demanded that the combined entity retain a listing on the JSE, and for AB InBev to continue with SABMiller’s black economic empowerment and supply chain programmes.
“For us, those are the bigger and more important things to be done,” Matjila said. Other fund managers are also salivating at the prospect of being able to acquire AB InBev stock directly.
Citadel & Cannon Asset Managers’ chief strategist, Adrian Saville, said: “The listing is important for a number of reasons including the fact that it’s a unique asset that allows the JSE to retain its stature as Africa’s financial centre.”