Centrale Danone plans to delist from Casablanca Stock Exchange in response to low share liquidity values

MOROCCO – Moroccan Capital Market Authority (AMMC), the Casablanca Stock Exchange watchdog, has announced the withdrawal of security offerings of Centrale Danone Stock from the bourse.

According to the press-release, Compagnie Gervais Danone, Centrale Danone’s mother company filed the buy-out bid on December 3 after the Board of Directors voted on the decision.

The bid concerns all Centrale Danone stocks that are not held by the Compagnie Gervais Danone company.

In accordance with the regulating law, the AMMC suspended the listing of the dairy company’s shares trading in the Moroccan Stock Exchange.

The move follows low share liquidity values, which have been on a down-ward spiral following a boycotting campaign in 2018 against the brand, triggered by consumers’ complaints of high prices.

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The boycott caused the dairy company to bleed €13.5 million (US$15.1m) in the first half of 2018, resulting in a total loss amounting to 40% of the market share.

It in turn introduced a low-cost milk product, declaring that it will not abandon the Moroccan market.

Despite taking control of the situation, the group was again met by a new wave of boycotting of French products in 2020 following an alleged controversial publication in France.

Controlling a market share of 30%, Centrale Danone is the country’s largest dairy company, boasting of having over 28 dairy products with the Centrale Fresh milk product being the most popular.

It works with over 116,000 dairy farmers across Morocco and employs over 8,000 people.

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Meanwhile, the food company has agreed to sell Aqua d’Or, its water-and-beverage business in Denmark, to local brewing-and-beverage company Royal Unibrew AS.

Danone, which didn’t disclose financial details of the sale, said the transaction is part of its strategic portfolio review and optimization of capital allocation.

Launched in 2000, Aqua d’Or, is a leading Scandinavian beverage company with its still bottled water segment being the market leader in Denmark and Sweden where it also has an established footprint.

Danone acquired a 49% stake in the company back in 2006 under the then Chairman and CEO Franck Riboud.

At the time, Danone had hoped the partnership with Aqua d’Or will allow the group to benefit from its knowledge of the market as well as the distribution channels in the Nordic region.

The company following a series of executive changes and portfolio optimization drives seems to have lost appetite for the company and is now selling it to Royal Unibrew.

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