Saturday June 30, 2012
AB InBev buying out Corona beer maker Modelo for US$20bil
BRUSSELS: Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), the world's biggest brewer, will swallow the half of Grupo Modelo it does not already own for US$20.1bil in the latest string of deals by big brewers looking for growth in emerging markets.
The owner of Budweiser and Stella Artois beers said it had reached agreement with Modelo's controlling families for it to secure a leading position in a growing domestic beer market and capture the best-selling Mexican beer Corona Extra.
Modelo, founded in 1925, is Mexico's biggest brewer with a 50%-plus market share in a virtual duopoly with Heineken's FEMSA Cerveza in the world's fourth-most-profitable beer market. Corona is the biggest imported beer in the lucrative US market.
AB InBev is attracted to Modelo by a Mexican beer market that is growing at about 3% and cost savings that the company said would be at least US$600mil a year.
AB InBev said it had added US$14bil of new bank loans to fund the all-cash transaction, adding that it would reduce its net debt/core profit ratio to two times during 2014.
Some analysts believe AB InBev could then line up world number two SABMiller as its next acquisition target. Others say that the drinks operations of PepsiCo would make more sense.
“I think the (US$20bil) price is the thing that is putting people off, but I think AB InBev will squeeze out much more in synergy savings than their guidance, so it makes sense,” said a London-based beverage analyst who declined to be named. - Reuters