Distell boosts revenue while Heineken waits for approval to buy

Distell boosted revenue in South Africa and across the continent as a deal between the country’s biggest wine exporter and Heineken continues to go through a regulatory approval process.

While Heineken’s offer of about €2.3 billion for Distell has got support from local shareholders, the final steps to buy the wine, brandy, liqueur and whisky maker are still dependent on the Competition Tribunal of South Africa’s ruling.

The outstanding approvals are “considered substantive in nature”, the company said on Thursday.

In South Africa, Distell sold 9.7% more of its alcohol in the six months through December as it had 25 more trading days, the Stellenbosch-based company said. That’s after all Covid-19 restrictions were lifted.

Revenue growth in its home market was crimped by extensive national power cuts and higher fuel prices, rising interest rates and consumer debt levels.

Elsewhere in Africa, there was a further recovery in trading after border closures were eased, while sales at Distell’s businesses outside the continent rallied 26%.

That’s as Taiwan, one of its largest markets, recovered from Covid-19 restrictions and as its premium whisky brands drove volume growth.