AB InBev targets $5 billion public listing for Asia business

AB InBev is targeting a July listing for its Asia Pacific business on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, a move that could raise it at least $5 billion and help the brewer make acquisitions in the region.

AB InBev’s overall revenues for the first three months of 2019 rose by 5.9% to $12.85 billion, according to results posted on Tuesday, which it said was driven by “healthy volume growth, global premiumisation and revenue management initiatives”.

EBITDA also increased by 8.2% to $4.99 billion, slightly lower than the prediction of analysts polled by Bloomberg of $5.06bn. Growth was driven by markets in Brazil, the US, China, Europe, Columbia and Nigeria, although this was offset by results in South Africa and Argentina.

At the same time as posting its first quarter earnings, AB InBev said it is “actively exploring” listing its Asia Pacific business on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Now, the brewer said on Friday that it had applied for a listing, with JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley leading the offering as joint sponsors.

“The merits of this initiative are based upon the creation of an APAC champion in the consumer goods space,” it said in a statement.

The note added that AB InBev could be preparing to make a series of brewery acquisitions in the region.

It said the company’s “superior portfolio of brands and leadership position in the beer industry provide an attractive platform for potential M&A in the region.”

In addition Paula Lindenberg, president of AB InBev’s UK business, which was recently renamed Budweiser Brewing Group, said that low and no-alcohol beers will continue to be a key focus for the company this year, growing at “nearly twice the rate of higher-strength beer in the UK.”

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