By Peter Egwuatu
The Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, has approved the voluntary delisting of Seven-Up Bottling Company Plc (7-Up) after it received a takeover bid from its majority shareholder, Affelka, aimed at restructuring the soft drinks bottler. The Exchange's approval which came into force last week, followed suspension of trading in the company's shares last month following the planned delisting.
In January, 7-Up's minority shareholders backed a $70 million buyout bid by majority investor Affelka, the investment firm of the Lebanese El-Khalil family.
The bottler received the takeover proposal last August after posting losses, in a deal aimed at restructuring the 7-Up, Pepsi and Mirinda product lines.
Seven-Up Bottling Company last traded at N101.97 per share, valuing the company at N65.32 billion naira ($214 million).
The Seven up Bottling Company held a court ordered meeting in January, where shareholders ratified the scheme of arrangement for the buy out.
Under the scheme, shareholders are to be paid a cash consideration of N125 per share as modified at the court ordered meeting.
According to the scheme " Share certificates representing the interest of the holders of the shares shall cease to be valid and that the scheme shares previously held in demutualised form shall be expunged from the respective record of the company's shareholders maintained by the Central Securities Clearing System, CSCS. Also upon the scheme becoming effective, the ordinary shares of the petitioner be delisted from the Daily Official List of the NSE ; or such incidental , consequential and /or supplementary orders as are necessary to ensure that the scheme be fully and effectively implemented."
The soft drinks bottling industry has been hit by slow demand arising from weak economic growth in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, which recently emerged from a recession and a currency crisis that stifled raw material imports.
The Seven-Up Bottling takeover comes six years after its main rival Coca-Cola delisted its local bottling unit from the NSE.