Budweiser owner AB InBev mulls listing for Asian arm
Budweiser maker Anheuser-Busch InBev has confirmed that it is mulling a public listing for part of its Asian operations, in a move which could help it to pay down debt faster.
The company said it is “actively exploring” floating a stake in the Asia Pacific business on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, though the decision was dependent on valuation and market conditions.
If it goes ahead, the float would 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.
But AB InBev stressed that even without the listing, it would remain on track to reduce net debt to four times underlying earnings by 2020.
The company also stated that its strong portfolio of brands provided a platform for potential mergers and acquisitions in the region.
Analysts at Liberum said the decision could unlock further value for the company.
“While the stretched balance sheet may lead to asset sales, we think the group is worth a lot more than is currently implied by the shares and think a potential Asian IPO could catalyse shares,” they said.
The firm made the announcement alongside its first quarter results, which showed revenue of 12.59 billion US dollars (£9.62 billion).
Total volumes in Asia declined 1.3% during the period, compared to global growth of 1.3%.
Meanwhile in the UK, the group said it had seen growth and is now focused on championing beer in bars and pubs, as well as offering more low and no alcohol options.
Paula Lindenberg, president of Budweiser Brewing Group UK and Ireland, said: “Our UK business has had a strong start to the year, as we continue to deliver volume growth and market share gains, with both Budweiser and Bud Light growing double digits.
“We have unveiled our new name Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I, moved to our new London offices and announced renewed ambitions, which include creating a nation of smart drinkers and championing Britain’s iconic beer culture.”