Monday 5 December 2016

Beer merger means losing China

Published 19/09/2015 | 02:30

Anheuser Busch's Budweiser and Bud Light Beer can be seen on display at a new Wal-Mart store in Chicago, January 24, 2012. REUTERS/John Gress
Anheuser Busch's Budweiser and Bud Light Beer can be seen on display at a new Wal-Mart store in Chicago, January 24, 2012. REUTERS/John Gress

A successful marriage between beer giants Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller would almost certainly have to be done without one of the jewels in SAB's crown: its 49pc stake in China's biggest-selling beer brand.

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That would mean the combined mega-brewer would have to forgo the huge distribution and bottling facilities held by SAB's China joint venture, CR Snow, a platform that would help it grow in the huge Chinese beer market.

"The big value of most of these (Chinese) brands is the bottling facilities and the distribution systems they have," said Ben Cavender of China Market Research Group. "With long-term brand building over the next few years having that access would be very big."

ABI's attempt to tie-up with SAB would trigger a change of ownership that would probably hand CRE the right to buy out SAB's stake, and lawyers anticipate China's competition watchdog will be waiting in the wings to rule that any deal must exclude CR Snow. (Reuters)

Irish Independent

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