Guinness Peat sells its stake in London-listed brewer Young & Co

British diversified investment holding Guinness Peat Group Plc (LON:GPG) said on Thursday it had exited domestic pub operator Young & Co’s Brewery Plc (LON:YNGA) after selling its entire holding in it for around GBP54m (USD84m/EUR67m).

Guinness Peat said it had sold, through its fully-owned unit GPG (UK) Holdings plc, 4.47m series A ordinary Young & Co’s shares at GBP5.50 apiece and 6.54m non-voting ordinary shares at GBP4.50 per unit through an accelerated bookbuild run by Barclays Bank Plc and JPMorgan Securities Ltd.

The vendor announced the plan to sell its entire Young & Co’s stake earlier today, saying the move was in line with the strategy announced in February 2011 to orderly realise its investment portfolio.

Commenting on the completion of the sale, GPG’s chairman, Rob Campbell, said the stock was sold at a discount and below their book value of GBP64m as at 31 December 2011, but the realised price was still a reasonable value return to shareholders given the previously illiquid nature of the shares.

GPG will use the cash to help pursue its announced capital management initiatives, Campbell added.

The company expects to complete the placing on 19 June pending customary conditions, with the payment to be settled in cash.

Young & Co’s had 219 pubs as of 29 March 2010.

Dutch brewer Heineken acquires Belgian cider maker Stassen

Netherlands-based brewing major Heineken NV (AMS:HEIA) said today it had bought Belgian cider maker Stassen SA from its management for an undisclosed sum.

Through the deal, which is pending customary closing conditions, Heineken gains solid research and development capabilities and facilities as well as cider production capacity in continental Europe, it added.

The buyer said that its decision to purchase the Belgian firm was prompted by the increasing interest in the international cider category. Heineken added that it is strengthening its position by introducing new products, such as Bulmers No. 17 and Jacques cider, as well as through the international roll-out of its global cider priority brand Strongbow Gold.

Heineken’s chief commercial officer Alexis Nasard said that the company will keep Stassen Ciders’ staff. Stassen’s managing director Philippe Stassen added that the firm will become Heineken’s cider R&D centre, thus boosting its position in the category’s premium market segment.

Stassen runs a cider manufacturing plant, a R&D facility, including a new product pilot plant, as well as a de-alcoholisation facility for cider, beer and wine. The firm has collaborated with Heineken in the development of the latter’s Strongbow Gold, Jacques and Bulmers No. 17 ciders.