We have not sold the family silver-Sven Thieme

Chamwe Kaira

Businessman and chairman of the O&L Group, Sven Thieme has said the much published N$1 billion dividend received from shares in Namibia Breweries Limited will be used in a responsible manner.
Namibia Breweries Limited last week made a dividend payout N$26,35 per share dividend to its shareholders.
He was responding to a question by the Windhoek Observer if he had become a billionaire or the richest Namibian perhaps.
“I deem this to be private information, however, O&L receives the dividend. What is important now is how we will apply the money in a responsible manner.”
On how the dividend will be used, Thieme said the O&L have proven over the years to be responsible by doing the right things right. “The money will be applied in a way we have always done in service of our O&L Persona and hence its purpose.”
Heineken N.V has acquired Ohlthaver & List’s 50.01% stake in NBL, gaining control of the company.

Responding to a question on whether, Heineken N.V taking over Namibian Breweries after many years of being in family and Namibian hands, feel like selling the family silver, Thieme said this was not the case.
“No not at all. This means more preserving the family silver in bigger hands. What would be irresponsible is to hold onto something from an emotional point of view and then lose the family silver for everyone. There are so many examples where decisions are made on an emotional basis with fatal consequences.”
Regarding the Heineken N.V deal, Thieme said many different discussions with various relevant stakeholders were held.
“This process started some time ago and overcoming the emotional barrier took me about two years. It is only the controlling shareholder that changed, all other shareholders are still part of it. The decision is made considering the prospects for all shareholders. The expansion of the brand beyond borders and the acquisition of Distell in Namibia are creating a better prospect for all shareholders remaining.”
Thieme said Namibians will still own approximately 40% of Namibia Breweries. He added that the only changes are that O&L sold its stake to protect NBL and unleash many other opportunities.
“We appreciate the immense pride and love that Namibians and all of us share for our iconic brands that have become synonymous with Namibian pride. This was not an easy decision however we are confident that this transaction will unlock unprecedented opportunity, synergy, and scale to the newly established business and its people; brands; our country and the region as a whole.”
Thieme said on the domestic front NBL had reached its peak. He said Namibia is the second most sparsely populated country in the world and yet NBL has shown and maintained a steady growth trajectory over the years. He said NBL’s growth and success has been based on its efforts to establish and grow volumes within its exports markets whilst it continued to innovate and perfect its brands to ensure it was able to maintain a considerable market share in beer in Namibia, which has come under continuous threat from competitors like AB-InBev over the years.
He said the Heineken N.V transaction provides a platform for export growth potential in Southern and Eastern Africa, for acquired brands, such as the iconic Windhoek brand while the deal will also unlock local industrialization and manufacturing growth with significant additional foreign direct Investment potential in production and supply chain capacity.
“Through this transaction, there are numerous opportunities such as tapping into global expertise and international standards, and in so doing supporting knowledge transfer and local production.”

Thieme said together with NBL’s current portfolio as well as that of Distell Namibia, Heineken is creating a beverage champion with a multi-category offer to better serve consumers, customers and creating shared value across Namibia. He emphasized that Heineken has also pledged to remain committed to the growth of Namibia and the region through jobs and investment; agriculture and community development. NBL will remain listed on the NSX, he added.
He concluded that with this transaction O&L enters a new era to seize many opportunities.
“it’s important for us to understand and appreciate that this transaction allows NBL to benefit from the global footprint and route-to-market that would provide Namibian born brands the opportunity to compete on the global stage.
A controlling shareholder like Heineken would significantly enhance value to NBL, while unlocking opportunities for our people and brands as part of its global portfolio.”

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