Court Blocks BGI Ethiopia's Assets Trying High Stake Lawsuits

Jun 3 , 2024

Judges at the Federal First Instance Court have issued an injunction today, halting the sale of BGI Ethiopia’s headquarters and the transfer of shares in Brasseries International Holding Limited (B.I.H). The injunction, signed by Judge Girawork Yitbarek, ruled immediate delivery to the defendants.

The legal action followed a high-stakes lawsuit filed by Zewudnesh G. Asrat, an 80-year-old woman, against BGI Ethiopia, Jean P. Blavierre, B.I.H, and Hebu Properties Limited. The plaintiff claims a 27pc ownership stake was unlawfully seized and demands the restoration of her shares, reinstatement of her role, and compensation for unpaid dividends.

In February 1999, B.I.H acquired the entire stake in BGI Ethiopia Plc, with the transfer of shares legally approved and registered. Zewudnesh’s affidavit details that B.I.H held 22,394 shares (73pc), while she held 8,283 shares (27pc). Following B.I.H's capital investments, the share par value increased tenfold, from 100 Br to 1,000 Br.

The 30,000Sqm property owned by BGI Ethiopia near the Mexico roundabout had previously been under an injunction by Purpose Black Ethiopia until recently. Due to a decision by the city administration to relocate major industries from the city centre and unmet water supply needs, BGI Ethiopia's executives decided nearly a year ago to relocate the plant and began seeking potential buyers for the site. Purpose Black initially showed interest, but the deal eventually fell through and settled only a few weeks ago.

BGI Ethiopia's management was preparing to seek another buyer before the court injunction was issued.

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