AB InBev to raise up to £7.8bn in listing for Asian arm

Brewing giant AB InBev has said it plans to raise up to 9.8 billion US dollars (£7.8 billion) from the listing of its Asian business, in what will be the biggest stock market float of the year so far.

The Budweiser owner’s Asian-Pacific arm will float on the Hong Kong stock exchange in a move that could value the business at almost 64 billion US dollars (£50.7 billion).

The spun-off arm will be called Budweiser Brewing Company APAC and it will price more than 1.6 billion shares, with a range of 40 to 47 Hong Kong dollars each (£4.06 to £4.77), according to the deal terms.

Even if the Initial Public Offering (IPO) only reaches the bottom of the pricing range, the share sale will push the float past Uber to be the largest so far this year.

In May, the brewing giant, which also produces Corona and Becks beer, said it was exploring the float dependant on market conditions.

The float will help accelerate the group’s plans to pay down the debt it has racked up after a string of high-profile acquisitions including its mega-merger with SABMiller in 2016.

Analysts said the move will provide funds to drive the company’s expansion across the fast-growing Asian market and reassure investors over its large debt.

In the first quarter of 2019, AB InBev total volumes in Asia declined 1.3% during the period, compared to global growth of 1.3%.

Meanwhile in the UK, the group has seen growth and is now focused on championing beer in bars and pubs, as well as offering more low and no alcohol options.

The Asian arm is expected to price in New York on July 11 and the stock will debut in Hong Kong on July 19, the deal terms said.