South Africa. Distillers' Corporation and Stellenbosch Farmers Winery directors have renamed their newly merged company Distell. This was announced after the two companies today started traded under a single name on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

"We have decided on the name and will be working establishing the new identity and image of the company - with an official launch planned for March next year," said Andre Steyn, spokesman for the new company.

Considered to be one of the "illiquid" stocks on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the Distell merger has however resulted in five times more trade than Distillers' Corporation's daily average.

At the close of office on Friday Distillers' shares were traded at R7,90 and SFW at about R3,50. Distillers shares were offered at 39,7 to every 100 SFW shares and today the new joint company opened trading at R8,00.

"Normal daily trading for Distillers' shares is about R97 000, but by 15h00 today, this had increased to marginally under R500 000," said Andrew Donaldson, of Merrill Lynch Securities in Cape Town.

"This is not stock which moves a great deal, it is rather illiquid. A total of 59 500 shares changed hands today, with buyers offering R8.05 and sellers pushing for R8.50 a share," said Donaldson.

Brokers do not expect there to be much trading in these stocks once the initial spurt of interest dies down.

Distell shares totalled 144 million shares. With the merger, another 55,8 million shares were issued as consideration shares, resulting in 195,58 million shares under the new dispensation.

However, only 10 percent are offered on the market as KWV, Rembrandt and South African Breweries each own a 30 percent stake in the new company, as a result of their previous shareholdings in Distillers and SFW.

*Tuesday, 5 December 2000, has been declared a public holiday in South Africa, to allow all workers to be able to get to polling stations for the second municipal elections to be held since the country's first democratic elections in 1994.