Distell withholds dividend as Heineken takeover talks persist

South African wine and spirits producer Distell has withheld its dividend for 2021 financial year amid ongoing takeover talks with Heineken.

The world’s second largest brewer opened talks with Distell about acquiring “the majority” of the South African company’s business in May.

“The discussions between Heineken and Distell are progressing, but several aspects still need to be considered and ultimately agreed,” said Distell in a statement to the market. “Shareholders should take note, that although discussions have progressed, there is no certainty that the remaining aspects will be successfully resolved and agreed.”

For that reason, it has put its dividend on ice for the time being. If talks with Heineken fail to bear fruit, it will declare a dividend for the year to June 30, 2021.

Distell believes that it will be in a position to provide more detailed information to shareholders on the potential transaction before the end of Q3 2021.

Distell produces Nederburg wine, Amarula cream liqueur, Savanna cider, Klipdrift brandy and whisky brand Bain’s. It also has a Scotch whisky division featuring Bunnahabhain, Deanston and Tobermory.

It reported that revenue for the year to June 30 grew 26% to R28.3 billion ($1.89 billion), while profit increased by more than 500% to R1.9 billion ($130 million). Earnings per share increase by 227%.

For the year to June 30, 2020, no final dividend was declared due to uncertainty caused by alcohol bans, and to improve the liquidity of the group following the impact of Covid-19.