ECUADOR – The Dutch brewing giant, Heineken has acquired a majority stake in Ecuador’s local beer maker, Biela y Bebidas del Ecuador S.A. BIELESA (‘BIELA ECUADOR’), marking its entry into the Ecuadorian beer market.

Biela Ecuador was mainly owned by local investors, owns the Biela® brand, and operates a brewery in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city using high-quality brewing and packaging equipment.

With the acquisition, Heineken said it intends to market its portfolio of premium and international brands, led by Heineken®, in Ecuador.

In addition to the Biela Brand, the Dutch beer maker plans to brew Heineken® beer locally in due course.

“We are very pleased to have completed this alliance with HEINEKEN, which is good news for Ecuador and its consumers, who will have a wider and better choice of beer products,” said Luis Enrique Landinez, CEO of BIELA ECUADOR.

“The successful re-launch of the Biela® brand, its current recognition in the market, and the favourable investment environment generated by the Ecuadorian Government have successfully drawn HEINEKEN into Ecuador.”

According to Heineken, Ecuadorian beer market presents growth opportunities with a current size of 6 million hectolitres per year and a relatively low consumption per capita of 39 litres when compared to other South American countries.

The country’s GDP is projected to grow at a 5.7% rate (CAGR) in the next 10 years and this supported by Ecuadorian government’s call for foreign investments.

“We are pleased to announce our investment in Ecuador,” said Marc Busain, President Americas at HEINEKEN.

“With its favourable demographics, flourishing tourism industry and GDP growth, it offers a lot of potential to grow our premium offering, led by the Heineken® brand.

“We are excited to grow our business in Ecuador in close collaboration with our new partners.”

The investment is part of the company’s commitment to international expansion, after it recently opened a US$100 million brewery in Mozambique.

Last December, Heineken acquired a majority stake in Spanish craft brewer La Cibeles with an aim to boost the brand’s distribution and export capacity.