(Yicai Global) June 1 -- Carlsberg Group has sued Tibet Development because it has inhibited the Danish beer giant's sale of its 50 percent stake in Lhasa Beer, Shanghai Securities News reported today, citing an insider.
Carlsberg and Daohe Industrial, the buyer, have filed a lawsuit against Tibet Development, requiring it to cooperate with Daohe on business registration procedures for the equity transfer, the source added.
Carlsberg and Tibet Development formed the southwestern Chinese beer brand in February 2004 with an equal share split. The Copenhagen-based firm invested around USD23 million in Lhasa Beer.
"Notwithstanding the share split of 50:50, Carlsberg has an insufficient say in Lhasa Beer’s operations and management,” a person close to Carlsberg said, adding that Lhasa Beer has not held any directors’ meetings since 2018 and that two directors Carlsberg sent to the beverage maker exist in name only.
Tibet Development did not make use of its right of first refusal within 30 days of being informed about the planned stake sale in late March. Therefore, Daohe already paid for the assets to Carlsberg on May 4. But the remaining shareholder has not even disclosed the planned deal to the public as it should.
Lhasa Beer has total assets of CNY656 million (USD92.5 million) as of Dec. 31, 2022, and that equals almost 77 percent of Tibet Development’s total assets, according to public data. Tibet Development logged CNY277 million in revenue last year, almost all from Lhasa Beer.
Misalignment between the pair may have started in 2018 when Tibet Development failed to pay a dividend of CNY95 million (USD13.4 million) to Carlsberg, per its earnings report. Lhasa Beer has not responded to Carlsberg's request for a written explanation about the missing payment since June 2020.
Even authorities have been alerted about the information disclosure violation as the Shenzhen Stock Exchange issued an inquiry to Tibet Development some days ago as the bourse received complaints from investors. It asked Tibet Development to state how it governs Lhasa Beer regarding the dividend issue, per the exchange.
Shares of Tibet Development [SHE: 000752] rose 0.5 percent to close at CNY4.04 (60 US cents).
Editor: Emmi Laine