WELCOME:  AB Inbev CEO Carlos Brito Picture: REUTERS/ERIC VIDAL
WELCOME: AB Inbev CEO Carlos Brito Picture: REUTERS/ERIC VIDAL

SA WILL enjoy a rare bit of truly good news on Friday, when the JSE welcomes a R3-trillion listing by Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB Inbev).

The trading of its shares on the JSE by the world’s largest brewer caps a heady few months of its pursuit of SABMiller. The promise of the listing helped it bag SABMiller to create a megabrewer.

AB InBev CEO Carlos Brito spent the past few days wooing South African investors, regulators and government officials.

The inward listing makes AB InBev the biggest counter on the local bourse, ahead of the only other inward listing, British American Tobacco, which had a R1.8-trillion market capitalisation on Thursday.

AB InBev stock closed at €107 on the Brussels Stock Exchange on Thursday, giving it a market capitalisation of €172.08bn (or about R3.1-trillion).

The government welcomed the listing, wishing "all parties every success".

"The listing reflects the confidence that AB InBev has in SA’s financial sector, capital markets and the JSE," Treasury spokeswoman Phumza Macanda said.

The listing was a vote of confidence on the regulatory standards that the JSE was able to offer, said CEO Nicky Newton-King. "We’re proud we could attract such a large multinational company," she said.

"AB InBev’s listing will signal to (other) international companies that Africa’s largest bourse and the capital markets are able to offer world-class facilities and highly professional services," said Ms Newton-King.

The fast-tracked listing took a mere 21 days to finalise.

In November AB InBev made a £44 (R1,041 in today’s money) cash offer for each SABMiller share, valuing the South African-born brewer at R1.7-trillion.

In a departure from past hostility to foreign takeovers of domestic companies, the government said: "We continue to encourage foreign companies to consider SA as an investment destination and to list in SA."

By contrast, Wal-Mart had to overcome numerous hurdles before its $2.3bn acquisition of Massmart in 2010 was approved by the government and trade unions. The SABMiller takeover still needs to get Competition Commission sanction.