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Heineken and China Resources Join Forces

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Heineken and China Resources Join Forces

Heineken and China Resources Join Forces
November 07
11:47 2018

Heineken has signed definitive agreements with China Resources Enterprise (CRE) and China Resources Beer (CR Beer) to create a long-term strategic partnership for Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau. Heineken will become CRE’s 40% minority partner in holding company CRH (Beer), which controls CR Beer, the undisputed market leader in the world’s largest beer market, China. The terms of the signed definitive agreements are in line with the non-binding agreements previously announced on 3 August 2018.

As part of the strategic partnership, Heineken China’s current operations will be combined with CR Beer’s operations and the Heineken brand in China will be licensed to CR Beer on a long-term basis. Combined, these transactions will result in a net investment of €1.948 billion by Heineken.

Jean-François van Boxmeer, chief executive and chairman of Heineken.

China’s beer market, the world’s largest beer market by volume, is now the second largest premium beer market globally and is forecast to be the biggest contributor to premium volume growth in the next five years, driven by its rapidly growing middle class. Profitability of the Chinese beer market is expected to improve significantly, driven by premiumisation, demand for international beer brands and cost optimisation.

Jean-François van Boxmeer, chairman and chief executive of Heineken, comments: “I am pleased we have quickly come to definitive agreements with CRE and CR Beer to join forces in China. Our long-term strategic partnership will help Heineken to significantly expand the availability of the Heineken brand, and will strengthen CR Beer’s offering in the rapidly growing premium beer segment in China. We look forward to growing together by leveraging Heineken’s global reach and marketing capabilities to help accelerate the international development of CR Beer’s Chinese beer brands worldwide.”

If regulatory approval is successfully obtained, the transaction is expected to complete in 2019. Upon completion Heineken’s pro-forma net debt/EBITDA (beia) ratio is expected to slightly exceed the target of 2.5x. The Netherlands-based brewing giant remains committed to return to the long-term target of below 2.5x.

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