AB InBev to sell Australian business to Asahi Group for US$11.3b

AUSTRALIA – AB InBev has agreed to sell its Australian business unit, Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) to Asahi Group Holdings, Ltd for AUD 16 billion (US$11.3 billion).

As part of the transaction, AB InBev will grant Asahi Group Holdings, Ltd rights to commercialize the portfolio of AB InBev’s global and international brands in Australia.

All of the proceeds from the divestiture of the Australian business will be used by the company to pay down debt, according to AB InBev.

The divestment will further help the company accelerate its expansion into other fast-growing markets in the APAC region and globally.

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With the deal, the maker of Stella Artois and Budweiser expects to create additional shareholder value by optimizing its business at an attractive price while further deleveraging its balance sheet and strengthening its position for growth opportunities.

“We continue to see great potential for our business in APAC and the region remains a growth engine within our company,” said Carlos Brito, Chief Executive Officer of AB InBev.

“With our unparalleled portfolio of brands, strong commercial plans and talented people, we are uniquely positioned to capture opportunities for growth across the APAC region.”

The transaction is expected to close by the first quarter of 2020, subject to customary conditions and regulatory approvals in Australia.

AB InBev may be looking at a number of asset sale to pay down its US$106 billion debt attributed to the 2016 SAB Miller buyout.

It recently cancelled a potential public offering of its Asia Pacific business, Budweiser APAC which was looking to raise up to US$10 billion.

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However, the company maintains that it continues to evaluate a potential IPO for the business, now excluding Australia in commitment to reach a net debt to EBITDA target ratio of below 4 times by the end of 2020.

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