Mexico's Femsa to sell 5 percent of Heineken, worth 2.5 billion euros

The logo of Coca Cola Femsa, the largest Coke bottler in the world, is pictured at its headquarters in Monterrey, Mexico April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Heineken shareholder Fomento Economico Mexicano (Femsa) said on Monday it was planning to sell an approximate 5 percent stake in the world’s second largest brewer, worth 2.5 billion euros ($3 billion).

Femsa FMSAUBD.MX, a Mexican bottler and retailer which sold its brewing business to Heineken in 2010 in exchange for shares, said the offer would be aimed at institutional investors outside Mexico.

Femsa holds 12.53 percent of Heineken NV HEIN.AS and also 14.94 percent of Heineken NV parent Heineken Holding HEIO.AS. Overall, this represents an economic interest of 20 percent in the group.

The Mexican company did not specify what share of each company it would divest, but said it would retain one seat on the board of directors of Heineken Holding and two on the supervisory board of Heineken NV.

L’Arche Green, the company through which the Heineken family exercises control of Heineken Holding, said it would buy back shares worth 200 million euros. The price per share would be determined by Femsa’s offer, it said in a statement.

“The participation of L’Arche Green N.V. in the share offering by Femsa underlines the long-term commitment of the Heineken family towards the Heineken company,” said L’Arche Green, which added that it was advised by Citigroup.

After Femsa’s filing, Heineken said it would retain its rights to seats on the boards of Heineken NV and Heineken Holding. Heineken also said Femsa still considered Heineken a positive long-term investment, citing comments by the Mexican firm’s chief executive.

In July, Heineken told Femsa's bottling unit Coca-Cola Femsa KOFL.MX that it was set to lose its contract to distribute the beer in Brazil. At the time, Femsa executives said talks about dissolving that contract would not affect the larger strategic relationship between the companies.

Shares in Femsa were up about 2.0 percent at 175.09 pesos ($9.84) per share at 1445 local time (1945 GMT) on Monday, while Heineken NV shares closed barely changed at 87.59 euros.

Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter; Additional reporting by Anthony Deutsch and Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Dan Grebler