Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) has sold Carlton & United Breweries (CUB), its Australian subsidiary, to Asahi Group Holdings for $11.3 billion, it was revealed this morning.
As part of the transaction, Asahi will gain the rights to commercialise the portfolio of AB InBev’s global and international brands in Australia. In a statement, the brewer said that the divestiture of CUB, once completed, will help to accelerate its expansion into other fast-growing markets in the APAC region and globally.
The move follows the brewer’s cancellation last week of the initial public offering of a minority stake in its Asia Pacific subsidiary, Budweiser Brewing Company APAC, on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. AB InBev has now announced, however, that the possible IPO is still on the table, “provided that it can be completed at the right valuation”.
Earlier this month, it was revealed the company was looking to raise between $8.3 billion and $9.8 billion through the listing. Trading was set to start on 19 July.
The company is still trying to reduce the debt it amassed through its acquisition of SABMiller for more than $100 billion in 2016.
Last year, the company’s Asia Pacific unit recorded revenue of $8.47 billion as it was boosted by a strong performance in China where its super premium brands “continued to grow significantly”. In 2017, the company opened a new brewery in Fujian province, which is capable of brewing 1.5 million tonnes of beer per year.
However, in the first quarter of 2019, AB InBev volumes in Asia Pacific were down 1.3% compared to the previous year, compared to global growth of 1.3%.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019