ACCC to review Carlton takeover

Australia’s competition authority will hold a public review following the sale of Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) to Japanese beverage giant Asahi, announced on Friday.

Belgium-based brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev agreed to sell the Australian subsidiary, which is known for iconic Australian brews such as Victoria Bitter and Foster’s, to Asahi Beverages for A$16 billion in enterprise value.

CUB is Australia’s largest brewer, holding a 48.8 per cent share of the Australian beer market. Following the takeover Asahi would control half of the Australian beer market.

The ACCC said in a statement to Inside FMCG that it had been notified of the proposed transaction by the parties involved and will begin a public review once a submission is received.

XXXX owner Lion, the second biggest player in the Australian beer market, is also owned by a Japanese company, Kirin.

Lion announced the sale of its dairy and drinks division in October with Lion CEO Stuart Irvine saying it was the “best option” for future growth of both companies.

Carlton & United Breweries CEO Peter Filipovic said in a statement to Inside FMCG on Monday morning that the brewer is “very excited to be joining Asahi”.

“We are a great Australian business, with iconic brands, world-class breweries and great people,” Filipovic said.

“These have made us the market leader in Australia and we look forward to growing the business and the beer category with Asahi.”

Filipovic said the company will continue to brew its famous beers such as VB and Carlton Draught in Australia looks forward growing the business with Asahi.

AB InBev said on Friday that the divestiture of CUB will allow the business to focus on expansion into “other fast-growing markets in the APAC region and globally”.

“We continue to see great potential for our business in APAC and the region remains a growth engine within our company,” Carlos Brito, chief executive of AB InBev said.

“With our unparalleled portfolio of brands, strong commercial plans and talented people, we are uniquely positioned to capture opportunities for growth across the APAC region.”

The deal is expected to be finalised in the first quarter of 2020. AB InBev said most of the proceeds from the deal to be used to reduce debt.

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