19 May 2004

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Malta consortium purchases 84 per cent of Berger Paints

By Matthew Vella

A Maltese consortium of paint producers and manufacturers have purchased 84.2 per cent of Berger Paints Malta Ltd, a subsidiary company of Asian Paints, estimated at a reported Singapoer dollar 1.8 million (Lm371,000). The consortium includes Vee Gee Bee Ltd and G Molton Ltd amongst the partners in the joint venture, although representatives did not reveal all the participating enterprises.
Berger Paints, which was established in Malta in 1981, currently employs 11 employees at its Hal-Far factory. Speaking for the consortium, Andrew Schembri said the it had been negotiating the purchase of the factory, partly-owned by Vee Gee Bee and Berger International Ltd, for months.
“The foreign investors sold their shareholding in the company. Their marketing strategy previously focused on the Asian market, not on Europe. They will still be involved, but we have the licensing agreement to produce the paint locally.”
Schembri said the factory is carrying on production and no changes in workforce are planned.
An Asian financial newspaper reported BIL chairman Jalaj Dinan saying the Maltese operations of Berger had “no strategic fit,” being the only European subsidiary with no significant contribution to the group’s sales. According to Dinan, the paint market in Malta is small and has not been growing for the past years, with the subsidiary taking up “disproportionate management time.”
Schembri told The Malta Financial and Business Times that BIL will keep technical rights on the products whilst the new joint venture will be producing and marketing the brand, as well as having technical and licensing agreements.
BIL has entered into a new technical service and trademark licensing agreement with the Malta operation, and will continue to receive royalties for services provided and use of tradematk.
“We are looking at foreign markets now. That is part of our agreement. We want to take care of new markets within the region,” Schembri said.
Berger International Ltd is listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange and has no operations in India, while Asian Paints has a controlling stake in the company.

Copyright © Newsworks Ltd. Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Malta Financial & Business Times, Newsworks Ltd, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann
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