Christo Wiese’s investment company offloads majority stake in South Africa’s liquor company DGB

SOUTH AFRICA – South African investment company Brait, whose largest shareholder is Christo Wiese, has offloaded its stake in DGB, South African producer and distributor of wine and spirits.

Brait has sold the majority stake it held in the company to asset management corporation Capitalworks and businessman Tim Hutchinson, long-time head of the liquor company for an undisclosed sum, reports Fin24.

Following the transaction, the liquor company has undertaken a major change in its executive, with Hutchinson stepping down after three decades at the company’s helm and handing over the reins of DGB Group CEO to Ricardo Ferreira, current CEO of DGB South Africa.

Hutchinson will now become executive chair of the company that he helped build into a major force in the wine and spirits sector since concluding a management buy-out in 1999.

The management buy-out saw DGB management and Brait acquire 80% of the company from the late mining and wine magnate Graham Beck.

Hutchinson was appointed as CEO of DGB in 1990 and has led the company through an enormous growth phase.

This includes development of its international wine business to over 70 countries, supported by 10 DGB offices around the world, establishing a major production, winery, bulk-storage and bottling facility in Wellington and the acquisition of Boschendal in 2005, Franschhoek Cellars in 2009 and Brampton in 2012.

The recent transaction is part of Brait’s commitment to executing on its recently adopted strategy to monetize its portfolio.

DGB is the owner and producer of wine brands like Boschendal, Franschhoek Cellars, Bellingham, Douglas Green, Tall Horse and The Old Road Wine Co.

It owns spirit brands like Strawberry Lips cream, Zappa Sambuca and Butlers liqueurs.

The company distributes and sells famous international brands including Jägermeister, Bacardi, Patron, Grey Goose, Bombay Sapphire, Bavaria, Fever Tree, San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, as well as iconic local wine brands Kanonkop, Graham Beck, Steenberg and Vergelegen.

The recent transaction is part of Brait’s commitment to executing on its recently adopted strategy to monetize its portfolio.

Last week, the investment company announced that it had received the final payment from the sale of its stake in Iceland foods.

Brait has banked R2.349 billion (US$137.65m) from the sale of its 63.1% interest in the retail chain to a newly established company NewCo.

NewCo is wholly owned by Sir Malcolm Walker CBE, Iceland Foods founder and executive chairman, and Tarsem Dhaliwal, its CEO.

Iceland Foods will now be 100% owned by Sir Malcolm Walker CBE, Tarsem Dhaliwal and their related parties.

Brait intends to use the proceeds to partially repay its revolving credit facility held by its subsidiary Brait Mauritius.

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