The sale moves AB InBev further along the path towards regulatory approval for the SAB Miller deal that was struck for $106 billion (€101bn) last October. The deal also means that Asahi – formerly a relatively small player on the global brewing stage – has now spent over €9.6 billion ($10bn) since April on European beer brands having bought SAB Miller brands Peroni and Grolsch from AB InBev for €2.55 billion ($2.67bn). The latest deal makes it the second-largest drinks industry purchase by a Japanese company following Suntory Holding’s $16 billion (€15.3bn) buyout of Beam Inc in the US in 2014 and a significant player on the greater European brewing scene.
While beer sales in Western Europe have been in decline on the back of pressure from craft beers, wines and spirits, Asahi – the largest brewer by value in Japan – hopes that the acquisitions will help it expand distribution of its own brands in Europe as a whole while beefing-up brand push in Western Europe since sales have also be declining in its home market due to a population decline and ageing there.
“Asahi’s Eastern European brand purchase is no huge surprise as it was widely considered the favourite for the acquisition,” commented Euromonitor’s International Research Analyst Anna Ward, “The move follows on from the company’s takeover of other SABMiller brands in Europe including Peroni and Grolsh earlier in the year and gives Asahi 16% of the Eastern European beer market, making it the third-biggest regional player.
“Asahi has been leading the way among Japanese brewers focusing on geographic expansion as they seek to mitigate the impact from their challenging domestic market.
“While European beer markets do not offer huge growth potential, their appeal derives from the substantial volumes available in the region. The Czech Republic, where Asahi gains leading premium lager Pilsner Urquell, has the highest per capita beer consumption level in the world.”
TOP BEER COMPANIES GLOBALLY – Euromonitor
|Company Shares (Global – Historical Owner) | Historical | Total Volume | % breakdown|
|World||Beer||Anheuser-Busch InBev NV||18.50||18.20||18.10||19.90||20.80|
|World||Beer||China Resources Holdings Co Ltd||–||–||–||–||–|
|World||Beer||Tsingtao Brewery Co Ltd||3.40||3.70||4.00||4.40||4.60|
|World||Beer||Molson Coors Brewing Co||2.70||2.60||3.20||3.20||3.10|
|World||Beer||Beijing Yanjing Brewery Co Ltd||2.70||2.90||2.80||2.90||2.70|
|World||Beer||Kirin Holdings Co Ltd||1.80||2.60||2.50||2.40||2.20|
|World||Beer||Asahi Group Holdings Ltd||–||1.30||1.30||1.20||1.20|