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Anheuser-Busch InBev Strengthening its Position in Fast-Growing Asia Pacific Region

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Anheuser-Busch InBev Strengthening its Position in Fast-Growing Asia Pacific Region

Anheuser-Busch InBev Strengthening its Position in Fast-Growing Asia Pacific Region
January 21
12:36 2014

Anheuser-Busch InBev is to reacquire Oriental Brewery, the leading brewer in South Korea, from KKR and Affinity Equity Partners for $5.8 billion. The transaction returns OB to the AB InBev portfolio, after AB InBev sold the company in July 2009, following the combination of InBev and Anheuser-Busch, in support of the company’s deleveraging target.

AB InBev will reacquire OB earlier than July 2014, as it was originally entitled to under the 2009 transaction.

Since KKR and Affinity entered into partnership with OB in 2009, OB has grown to become the largest brewer in South Korea, driven by strong growth of the Cass brand. OB and AB InBev also remained long-term partners through OB’s exclusive license to distribute select AB InBev brands in South Korea such as Budweiser, Corona and Hoegaarden.

Carlos Brito, chief executive of AB InBev, says: “We are excited to invest in South Korea and to be working with the Oriental Brewery team again. OB will strengthen our position in the fast-growing Asia Pacific region and will become a significant contributor to our Asia Pacific Zone. The management team at OB has done a tremendous job of growing the business over the last few years into the leader it is today in South Korea.”

South Korea is an attractive beer market with a strong domestic growth outlook and beer volumes that grew at an annual rate of approximately 2% between 2009 and 2012. During that same period, premium brands grew by approximately 10% per year. South Korea’s beer market is expected to grow by more than 13% in total during the 2012-2022 period.

The enterprise value for the transaction is $5.8 billion, and as a result of an agreement entered into with KKR and Affinity in 2009, AB InBev will receive approximately $320 million in cash at closing from the deal, subject to closing adjustments according to the terms of the transaction. OB estimates its EBITDA in 2013 was approximately KRW529 billion or approximately $500 million at current exchange rates.

AB InBev will draw on existing liquidity to fund the acquisition. The optimal capital structure of the company remains a Net Debt to EBITDA ratio of approximately 2.0x, with previous guidance being the achievement of a ratio below this level during the course of this year. Although this transaction does not represent a material increase in leverage, AB InBev now expects to achieve a ratio below 2.0x after the end of 2014.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval in South Korea as well as other customary closing conditions, and is expected to close in the first half of 2014.

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