Mexicans cash in on sale of Heineken shares

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The Mexican Femsa, major shareholder in Heineken, wants to sell its interest in the beer brewer. The company wants to take two to three years to get rid of the pieces. It is clear that the Mexicans will cash in billions with the sale.

The Mexicans own more than eight percent of Heineken shares and more than twelve percent of Heineken Holding shares. Based on the latest share price, these shares are worth 4.7 billion and 2.8 billion euros respectively. FEMSA bought the shares in 2010 for 5.3 billion euros. After the De Carvalho-Heineken family, Femsa is the largest shareholder in the Heineken group.

“It’s shifting capital and taking profit.”

Femsa wants to focus more on retail activities, digital financial services and soft drinks. In Central and South America, the company has several tens of thousands of convenience stores under the name Oxxo. “For them it’s a shift from taking capital and profit,” says Cees Smit, asset manager of Today’s Group.

According to the FD, Heineken may buy the shares itself. This would increase Heineken’s debts considerably, says Smit. ‘They must quickly clarify what they are going to do.’ Investors usually don’t like a company with high debts. ‘We’ve seen that in the past with Heineken competitor Inbev. So they have to be careful not to build up too much debt, especially in a period when interest rates are rising,’ says Smit.

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Femsa’s announcement does have direct consequences. The Vice-Chairman of the Supervisory Board, José Antonio Fernández Carbajal, is leaving the Heineken Supervisory Board with immediate effect.

Former Heineken CEO Jean-Francois van Boxmeer and Femsa CEO Jose Antonio Fernandez in 2010. Femsa, major shareholder in Heineken, now wants to sell its interest in the beer brewer. (ANP / AFP)

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