Asahi sells stake in China’s Tsingtao for $941m

Japanese-based brewer Asahi has agreed to sell its 20% stake in China’s Tsingtao for US$941 million, with the bulk going to the Chinese-owned investment conglomerate Fosun, and the remainder to Tsingtao.

Fosun will pay about $847 million for an 18% stake at HKD27.22 per share, while Tsingtao will pay $94 million for the rest, Asahi confirmed in a statement on Wednesday. Asahi purchased its Tsingtao stake for $667 million in 2009 from AB InBev.

In February this year, dbHK first reported that Asahi was working with Morgan Stanley to sell its stakes in Tsingtao. Asahi said it had decided to sell its stake in light of its continued expansion into Europe, where it acquired about US$11 billion in beer brands from Anheuser-Busch and SAB Miller in March.

The brands acquired included Czech market leader Pilsner Urquell and Kozel, Poland’s Tyskie and Lecher and Hungary’s Dreier. Asahi now has around a 9% stake in the European beer market, excluding Russia.

“China’s brewery market is the largest in the world and the group is optimistic about the potential growth of the target company,” Fosun said in a statement.

Fosun, which also owns Israel’s skin-care brand Ahava, and Greek fashion brand Folli Follie, recently signalled its intentions of acquire Italian lingerie maker La Perla, and also agreed to buy French margarine maker St Hubert in July for about $732 million.

The deal is expected to close at the end of March, Asahi said in the statement.

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