Japan's Asahi will buy AB InBev's eastern European brands for €7.8bn

 
Courtney Goldsmith
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TO GO WITH FRENCH STORY 'JAPON-ECONOMIE-
Asahi has taken over five brands from the former SABMiller portfolio (Source: Getty)

Japan's Asahi has just announced it will buy five of Anheuser-Busch InBev​'s eastern European beer brands for €7.3bn (£6.1bn).

The former SABMiller brands include the Czech Pilsner Urquell, Poland's Tyskie and Hungary's Dreier.

AB InBev is working to close the deal as part of its efforts to pass competition regulations after its £79bn takeover of SABMiller.

Asahi, on the other hand, continues to branch out of its home market where prospects are bleak. Analysts at Cavendish Corporate Finance said Asahi has set aside nearly $4bn (£3bn) for overseas acquisitions as it looks outside Japan's shrinking domestic market.

Asahi said in a statement the acquisition, which is the largest purchase of a foreign beer operation by a Japanese brewer, will lift its overseas sales as a proportion of total sales to nearly a quarter, from 16 percent in October.

In April, the Japanese drinks giant bought SABMiller’s beer brands Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime.

The combined deals show Asahi is a leading player in the international beverage market, said Jonathan Buxton, partner and head of consumer at Cavendish.

He said:

Consolidation in the brewing business is accelerating, and we can expect cash rich Japanese buyers to continue their ambition growth strategies by pursuing overseas acquisitions.

Asahi shares fell 6.4 per cent after the report before rising to 4.6 per cent at the market close.

The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2017.

AB InBev was advised by Deutsche Bank and Lazard, while Rothschild and Barclays worked on the Asahi side of the deal.

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