AB InBev offloads Australian unit for $11.3bn
By Nick Hedley - Jul 19th, 09:03
Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), which shelved plans to list its Asia Pacific business in Hong Kong, said it will sell Australian subsidiary Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) to Japan’s Asahi Group for about $11.3bn (R157bn).
AB InBev, which cemented its position as the world’s largest brewer with its 2016 takeover of Johannesburg-born SABMiller, also said it will continue to evaluate a potential listing of Budweiser Brewing Company Asia Pacific.
SABMiller bought Foster’s Group in 2011 in a deal that included CUB.
AB InBev said that as part of the deal with Asahi, it will give the Japanese brewer rights to commercialise its portfolio of international brands in Australia.
“The divestiture of CUB, once completed, will help AB InBev to accelerate its expansion into other fast-growing markets in the Asia Pacific region and globally,” the group said.
“It will also allow the company to create additional shareholder value by optimising its business at an attractive price while further deleveraging its balance sheet and strengthening its position for growth opportunities.”
AB InBev CEO Carlos Brito said the group saw “great potential” for its business in the Asia Pacific, which “remains a growth engine within our company”.
AB InBev will use the proceeds of the sale to pay down debt, it said. The transaction is expected to close by the first quarter of 2020.
The potential listing and the CUB sale were not necessary for the group to reach its debt-reduction targets, it said.
AB InBev’s 2016 acquisition of SABMiller, then the world’s second-biggest brewer, pushed its net debt above $100bn.
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