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Rwanda starts sale of its shares in brewer Bralirwa

Rwanda said on Monday it would raise 22.1 billion Rwandan francs from the sale of its 30 percent stake in brewer Bralirwa, the first initial public offering in the central African country.

Finance Minister John Rwangombwa told a news conference the government would sell 128.6 million shares, or 25 percent of the company, at 136 francs. He said the shares were valued at 170 francs but offered at a discount to encourage buyers.

The other 5 percent of the government’s stake will be sold to the Heineken Group, which already holds the remaining 70 percent of Bralirwa.

The share offer runs from November 23 to December 17.

Bralirwa sells brands such as Amstel, Guinness, Mutzig and Primus, a local brand. It bottles Coca Cola products.

Rwanda launched its over-the-counter bourse in January 2008 and the IPO is part of the government’s strategy to strengthen the country’s nascent capital markets.

The exchange has so far mainly attracted Treasury and corporate bonds although it now also boasts two cross-listed Kenyan companies –Kenya Commercial Bank and Nation Media Group.

Earlier this month, the bourse said it had cut taxes in line with recommendations in East African common market proposals to attract investors and issuers.

Withholding tax on dividends on listed companies is now 5 percent, down from 15 percent. Tax interest on listed bonds with a maturity of three years is now 5 percent from 15 percent and corporate income taxes were reduced to the lower rates ranging from 28 percent to 20 percent.

The government is set to sell off its 10 percent stake in mobile operator MTN Rwanda. The South African-based MTN Group has a 55 percent stake in the Rwandan operation.

Rwanda also plans to sell a 20 percent stake in the country’s biggest insurer, Sonarwa (Societe Nouvelle d’Assurance du Rwanda). Nigeria’s IGI owns a 35 percent stake in the firm.

[International Business Times]


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