Japan’s Asahi relaunches race for SABMiller’s batch of CEE brewers

By bne IntelliNews October 5, 2016

Japan’s Asahi Group Holdings is preparing to offer more than JPY500bn (€4.3bn) for SABMiller’s Central and Eastern European beer brands, the Nikkei business daily reported on October 5.

The likely sale of the assets has alerted strategic investors around the globe. Among the likely competitors to Asahi are compatriot Kirin and China Resources Beer Holdings. Large international private equity funds are also thought to be interested, as well as local oligarchs, although the action looks a little rich for them.

SABMiller’s brewing businesses, based in the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, are to be spun off to appease anti-trust regulators as part of Anheuser-Busch InBev's $100bn-plus takeover of SABMiller. The transaction is set to take place next week in a deal that will form the world’s largest beer group.

Czech market leader Plzensky Prazdroj – which produces the Pilsner Urquell, Gambrinus, Kozel and Radegast brands - is the top asset to be sold. The package also includes Dreher in Hungary, Poland's Tyskie and Lech, Slovakia's Topvar and Ursus in Romania. Earlier this year, Exane BNP Paribas analysts estimated the brands accounted for about $2.3bn in sales and $450mn in earnings before interest and taxes for SABMiller.

SABMiller is the third-largest brewer in CEE with a market share of roughly 15%, according to Euromonitor. AB InBev’s share is currently 7.9%. In April, Belgium-based AB InBev accepted a $2.9bn offer from Asahi for European premium brands Peroni and Grolsch, as well as British craft-beer Meantime.

The prospect of Asian buyers has left the beer-loving Czechs jittery over whether the integrity of treasured brews such as Pilsner Urquell will be safe in the hands of a Tokyo-based brewer, while, financially speaking, brewing industry analysts are none too sure why such an acquisition would not leave Asahi with a European hangover in the long run. The region’s beer market risks stagnating amid possible population decline that could prove worse than Japan’s own.

US buyout funds KKR and Bain Capital, as well as European funds BC Partners and PAI Partners have been mentioned as possible suitors. CEE specialist Mid Europa Partners is reportedly on the lookout for a bidding partner. Czech family office R2G is another name mentioned.

At the same time, PPF Group, the investment vehicle of Czechia's richest man Petr Kellner, is reported to be interested in Pilsner Urquell, along with Slovak financial group J&T. Polish billionaire Sebastian Kulczyk is another local name mentioned.

Related Articles

CEZ sells MOL stake

CEZ has “conditionally” sold its 7.5% stake in Hungarian oil and gas group MOL, the Czech state-controlled energy group announced on March 30. The report ... more

UniCredit reportedly in talks to sell Czech/Slovak unit

UniCredit is in talks with two local suitors over the sale of the Italian bank’s Czech/Slovak business, local media reported on March 27. The claim remains only speculation, but if accurate, it ... more

Poland isolated again as it threatens to block EU declaration

Poland will not sign the Rome Declaration if its demands for moulding the EU’s future are not reflected in the document, Prime Minister Beata Szydlo threatened on March 23. The statement could ... more

Register here to continue reading this article and 2 more for free or purchase 12 months full website access including the bne Magazine for just $119/year.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address.
A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

To continue viewing our content you need to complete the registration process.

Please look for an email that was sent to with the subject line "Confirmation bne IntelliNews access". This email will have instructions on how to complete registration process. Please check in your "Junk" folder in case this communication was misdirected in your email system.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and magazine

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and monthly magazine, the leading source of business, economic and financial news and commentary in emerging markets.

Your subscription includes:
  • Full access to the bne content daily news and features on the website
  • Newsletters direct to your mailbox
  • Print and digital subscription to the monthly bne magazine
  • Digital subscription to the weekly bne newspaper

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

bne IntelliNews
$119 per year

All prices are in US dollars net of applicable taxes.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Register for free to read bne IntelliNews Magazine. You'll receive a free digital subscription.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address.
A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

IntelliNews Pro offers daily news updates delivered to your inbox and in-depth data reports.
Get the emerging markets newswire that financial professionals trust.

"No day starts for my team without IntelliNews Pro" — UBS

Thank-you for requesting an IntelliNews Pro trial. Our team will be in contact with you shortly.

Dismiss