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O&L has no regrets on NBL's exit

The country’s largest private company, Ohlthaver & List Group (O&L) says it has no regret in relinquishing ownership of Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) but sees the transaction as a window of new opportunities.

The group’s majority shareholding in NBL was recently acquired by Heineken International.

O&L’s Chief Executive Officer Wessie van der Westhuizen said the group is aiming to grow its existing company operations, as well as navigate the renewable energy sector.

"Selling the majority shareholding opens up many opportunities for our group, because the way we look at it is how do we establish another Namibia Breweries through one of our existing companies, not necessarily one but a couple,” O&L’s Chief Executive Officer Westhuizen told The Brief.

“So we are now focusing on optimising all our existing businesses to make sure they are all sustainable and profitable so that the proceeds of that can be reinvested. We are looking at other investment opportunities in other industries. 

"As O&L we have grown Namibia Breweries and the brand into a proud business. But taking it to the rest of the world and compete with AB InBev and Heineken outside the borders of Namibia, we would have never won that battle. 

"So for Heineken to take on Windhoek Lager and Windhoek Draught to complement their portfolio to the rest of the world, is something we were never going to do on our own. In a way we look at it to say, we took this chick out to fly to the rest of the world," he added.

Westhuizen is confident that the deal is not going to affect O&L’s financial standing because it did not directly have access to the funds but was receiving dividends.

"Remember that NBL was a listed company, there was only a dividend flowing to O&L, the rest belonged to shareholders, therefore the dividend was not a significant part of O&L, even though it is going to be missing. However, we are focusing on our other core businesses like we have 14 operating segments that we need to prioritise," he said.

O&L which is invested in leisure, property and retail sectors, is now also diving into energy with a Green Hydrogen project lined up in the Erongo region.

O&L is one of the companies benefitting from Germany-backed funding of close to N$500 million, and in this particular project, they partnered with CMB Tech and created a Cleanergy company.

" We will conduct a groundbreaking ceremony and start deploying earth-moving equipment as we move towards establishing a first green hydrogen pilot plant. So, we are going to give it a shot and explore the energy sector," he said. 

Recently, the group’s subsidiary, O&L Nexentury GmbH, was granted an advanced water management permit to construct and operate Germany's largest floating solar photovoltaic (PV) park.

According to O&L, with an investment value of approximately N$350 million, the solar park will be built on the gravel lake of Philipp & Co KG in Bad Schönborn and consist of over 27,000 PV panels and cover more than eight hectares of water surface area.

















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Last modified on Friday, 02 June 2023 19:12

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