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UPDATE 2-Nigeria's Seven-Up gets $60 mln takeover offer after losses
November 30, 2017 / 1:40 PM / in 13 days

UPDATE 2-Nigeria's Seven-Up gets $60 mln takeover offer after losses

* Seven-Up received takeover offer in Aug

* Profits have been falling since 2015

* Company likely to be delisted after takeover

* FX crisis, weak demand stifles soft drinks bottlers (Adds further details, background)

By Chijioke Ohuocha

LAGOS, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Nigeria’s Seven-Up bottling company has received an offer from its majority shareholder Affelka to buy out minorities for 19.33 billion naira ($60 million), in a takeover deal aimed at restructuring the struggling company.

Privately-held Affelka, the investment firm of the Lebanese El-Khalil family, has offered to acquire 171.5 million shares from minorities at 112.70 naira per share, an 18 percent premium to Thursday’s share price of 95.50 naira.

It already owns 73.2 percent of the bottler, set up 57 years ago, and has the licence to bottle PepsiCo’s Pepsi and other products in Africa’s most populous nation.

The soft drinks bottling industry has been hit by slow demand arising from weak economic growth in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, which has just emerged from a recession and a currency crisis which stifled raw material imports.

“As of now we have received an offer from the majority shareholder of the company. It’s a financial restructuring,” Seven-Up vice chairman Sunil Sawhney told Reuters by phone.

He said the company has been making losses for some time and that the deal was aimed at restructuring the bottler, which distributes PepsiCo’s 7up, Pepsi and Mirinda-branded drinks.

Shares in the soft drinks maker, which opened for trade at 92.50 naira, rose 5 percent on the news, valuing the company at 59.6 billion naira ($186.25 million).

The Seven-Up takeover deal comes six years after main rival Coca-Cola delisted its local bottling unit in a buy out deal worth $136 million, to expand the business and fend off competition.

Sawhney, who joined the company in a management change this year, said delisting Seven-Up from the stock exchange after the takeover would be “logical”. The takeover is subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals, he said.

Earlier Seven-Up said its board has received an offer from Affelka to acquire all outstanding shares that it does not currently own.

Profits at Seven-Up started to decline in the first three months of 2015 just before Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, slipped into its first recession in a quarter of century triggered by low oil prices.

Seven-Up then posted its first loss in half-year 2016 and since then losses have widened. It reported a 6.26 billion naira pretax loss in the first six months of 2017.

“(Affelka) will be injecting more capital into the business,” he told Reuters. ($1 = 320.00 naira) (Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha Editing by Adrian Croft, Greg Mahlich)

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