Investment company Remgro has enjoyed huge success in "supersizing" its key investments. Think Rothmans (merged into British American Tobacco) and Mediclinic (now a global private hospital business with a primary listing in London).

Liquor group Distell, though, has been relatively slow in its expansionary efforts (at least compared with the old SABMiller) — though it has built a formidable cider presence in the past 25 years. Remgro, following the dismantling of Capevin, will soon be large and in charge at Distell, heightening expectations of inspired deal making on the global stage.

Last week’s announcement about Distell acquiring a 26% stake in Best Global Brands (BGB) will support notions that it is looking for rapidly expanding African niches rather than paying stiff premiums for top international brands. BGB distributes the fast-growing mainstream "Best" spirit brand across Africa — and feeds into Distell’s successes in big-volume markets such as cider, the ready-to-drink (RTD) segment and affordable wines such as 4th Street.Importantly, the US$55m deal comes with an option to acquire the remaining 74% stake after 2019. Best, the market leader in Angola, churned out 30m litres for the year to end-June 2017. This will mix well with Distell’s presence in select African markets (including Angola), and it’s not unreasonable for it to want to be the dominant player in the spirit, wine and RTD segments across the continent. Potential synergies — in procurement, route-to-market and production — should benefit both companies. If Distell opts to snap up the remainin...

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