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AB-InBev to divest from it’s Central European Operations

Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer, is contemplating divesting its Central European operations, including Hungarian brewery Borsodi, Belgian daily Le Soir reported over the weekend.

AB InBev is to sell 11 breweries in seven Central European countries, including Borsodi in Hungary, Le Soir reported, saying the company is trying to rationalise its operations after spending a fortune on Anheuser-Busch.

InBev bought up US-based Anheuser-Busch, the owner of the Budweiser brand, last year for USD 52 billion. While it has brands such as Stella Artois, Beck’s, Jupiler and Leffe on its European offering, it now wants to focus on North and South America.

A spokesman for AB InBev declined to comment.

According to the paper, AB InBev would sell its Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Hungarian, Montenegrin, Romanian and Serbian units, which produce 15 million hectolitres of beer annually, in a ‚Äúpackage deal”.

The company sold its South Korean subsidiary Oriental Brewery to private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. in May month for USD 1.8 bn, as part of a move to repay debt incurred in the purchase of Anheuser-Busch.

There is no word on the asking price yet. AB InBev has asked Barclays to advise it on the deal and at least one private equity firm CVC Partners, a minority stakeholder in the Belgian Post, was mentioned as interested. The Chief Executive Officer of The Post is Johnny Thijs, who had previously helmed InBev’s Eastern European expansion project.

AB InBev has decided to change its strategy partly because its Czech and Romanian units failed to live up to its expectations and the Croatian and Montenegrin subsidiaries have also failed to boost their market share.

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Thursday, January 18, 5:35 pm

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