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(Bloomberg) -- Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. is already getting a headache from its $11 billion Australian foray.Japan’s biggest brewer, seeking to escape a slow-growing, aging market at home, is buying the Australian assets of Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, which owns iconic but low-priced beers such as Victoria Bitter. To do so, Asahi will double its debt load and issue about 10% more in new shares. That’s becoming a hangover for investors, who lopped $2 billion from the brewer’s market value on Monday.The deal is the latest in an overseas buying spree by Asahi, which picked up Fuller, Smith & Turner Plc’s brewing business for $330 million earlier this year and made a $11 billion push into Europe two years ago. The Japanese brewer, along with Kirin Holdings Co. and Sapporo Holdings Ltd., has seen domestic beer shipments decline for 14 straight years as fewer people reach legal drinking age. To stay ahead of rivals, Asahi now appears to be more willing to weigh down its balance sheet.“The question is whether Asahi can effectively manage the business, while improving profits and cash flows,” said Toshiyasu Ohashi, chief credit analyst at Daiwa Securities Group Inc., who added that Asahi’s credit profile will be hurt as debt grows faster than cash flow. “Can they generate synergies, and can they improve their financials after the deal?”Shares of Asahi dropped 8.9% in Tokyo trading on Monday, the biggest decline since 2011. The stock was up 18% this year before the deal with AB InBev was announced on Friday.Asahi said it’s securing a 1.2 trillion yen ($11.1 billion) bridge loan and selling 200 billion yen worth of shares to pay for AB InBev’s Melbourne-based Carlton & United Breweries. The Japanese brewer is already on the hook for about 1 trillion yen in interest-bearing debt. The company is betting that cash from the Australian business will help pay down debt. The purchase may lift Asahi’s per-share earnings by as much as 20%, according to SMBC Nikko Securities.There are already early signs of concern over Asahi’s creditworthiness. Moody’s Japan placed the company’s ratings on review for downgrade on Monday, saying the deal will “significantly raise Asahi’s financial leverage.” Rating & Investment Information Inc. said it would place the brewer on its rating monitor with a view to downgrading.A representative for Tokyo-based Asahi declined to comment on Monday.The timing of Asahi’s 200 billion yen share sale isn’t ideal, either. That figure represents about a fifth of total equity issued in Japan this year. Companies have issued 1.1 trillion yen of stock so far, down 43% from the same period last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Asahi has been here before. In 2016, it agreed to buy European beers including Peroni, Grolsch and Pilsner Urquell in two transactions from AB InBev for about $11 billion. Since then, the Japanese brewer’s shares have climbed more than 30%, making it easier for Chief Executive Officer Akiyoshi Koji to justify the latest deal to shareholders.What Bloomberg Opinion Says“Asahi is paying a hefty price, almost 15 times the business’s $760 million of Ebitda in 2018. By comparison, Asahi, Kirin Holdings Co. Ltd. and Sapporo Holdings Ltd. trade on an average of about 11 times.”Andrea Felsted, consumer and retail columnistClick here to read the pieceAsahi said the Carlton purchase would give it greater access to distribution across the Australian market, letting it cross-sell its own brands, including Super Dry and Peroni. “Australia is an attractive market enjoying sustainable economic growth,” the brewer said in a statement.Tomonobu Tsunoyama, an analyst at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. in Tokyo, agreed. “It’s a mature market, but in terms of making money from premium brands, Australia is very similar to eastern Europe,” he said.Even so, total beer consumption in Australia has more than halved in the past four decades, to 84 liters per person a year, while lower-alcohol brews make up one fifth of the total. With total alcohol consumption declining, InBev had been pushing weaker ales on Australians.“The Australian market is very high margin, but very slow growth,” said Duncan Fox, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst.Carlton’s portfolio of beers, which account for almost half the Australian market, has something for almost any palate. The collection is built on the 165-year-old Victoria Bitter, still portrayed as the brew of choice for hot and thirsty Aussie laborers, but also includes foreign brands such as Stella Artois and Beck’s. InBev has in recent years added craft beers including 4 Pines, which is made in the Sydney beachside suburb of Manly.Although Carlton fits with Asahi’s long-term strategy, it’s unlikely to deliver benefits beyond the continent, according to Naomi Takagi, an analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities.“The deal is unlikely to lead to expansion in other countries and thus synergies look thin,” Takagi wrote in a research note.(Updates shares, Australian market figures.)\--With assistance from Shiho Takezawa, Angus Whitley and Takashi Nakamichi.To contact the reporter on this story: Kantaro Komiya in Tokyo at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Rachel Chang at firstname.lastname@example.org, Reed Stevenson, Jeff SutherlandFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Today we'll evaluate Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS) to determine whether it could have potential as an investment...
(Bloomberg) -- As investors pummeled Anheuser-Busch InBev NV’s stock and bonds after the Budweiser maker scrapped what would have been the year’s largest initial public offering, little did they know Chief Executive Officer Carlos Brito had a Plan B that’s been in the works for months.A week after pulling a share sale of its Asian business, AB InBev on Friday agreed to sell its Australian unit -- part of the portfolio that had been offered to investors -- to Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. A Hong Kong listing would have fetched as much as $9.8 billion; the sale to the Japanese company is valued at $11.3 billion.The Australian deal, spearheaded by Brito and his counterpart at Asahi, Akiyoshi Koji, was the culmination of several months of clandestine conversations, mostly in London, according to people familiar with the matter. The negotiations were limited to a handful of members of the Belgian brewer’s executive committee, its long-time bankers at Lazard Ltd. and senior management of Asahi, which was advised by Rothschild and Nomura Holdings Inc., the people said.The transaction surprised some members of separate banking teams -- led by JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley -- that had been appointed by the world’s largest brewer to handle the listing of its Asian arm, the people said, asking not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the information. The IPO was expected to net as much as $170 million in fees for the top two advisers.Read this: Why Budweiser and Bankers Failed to Sell the King of IPOsThe high-stakes turnaround is emblematic of Brito’s dealmaking style -- leaving little to chance and considering all angles available. In 2016, he secured a $106 billion purchase of rival SABMiller that cemented the brewer’s global dominance. AB InBev slowly ingratiated itself with SABMiller shareholders by raising its offer in small increments via five separate bids, all the while structuring a tax-efficient offer for the two largest investors, the billionaire Santo Domingo family of Colombia and tobacco company Altria Group Inc.Not long after Bloomberg reported in January that AB InBev was considering the Asia IPO, Asahi began weighing an acquisition of Carlton & United, the Australian business. The division is highly profitable but shows less promise for growth than some of the Belgian company’s other regional operations.In recent years, a bond had formed between Brito and Koji, following the Japanese brewer’s acquisition of Pilsner Urquell, Peroni and Grolsch in separate deals to secure antitrust approval for the SABMiller purchase. The so-called megabrew purchase saddled AB InBev with a debt load that tops $100 billion, prompting the company to cut its dividend last year and explore the possibility of an Asian IPO or asset sales.In spring, seeking to keep the Australian division from forming part of the Hong Kong flotation, Asahi made an offer for it before AB InBev began its roadshow with JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley bankers. The Japanese company was looking to fuel its expansion beyond a stagnating, highly competitive domestic market. AB InBev instead chose to gauge the appetite for a listing that would include the Australian arm.Tense CallsConference calls between AB InBev’s management and the arrangers on the listing grew increasingly fraught in the middle of last week. By that point, it was becoming clear that interest from institutional investors and sovereign wealth funds had not met the brewer’s expectations, largely because of the valuation of the unit. AB InBev’s board decided to pull the IPO minutes before the company issued a press release last Friday, citing unaccommodating “market conditions.”One of the people who helped draft plans for the share sale of Budweiser Brewing Co. APAC said that if they had known about the talks going on with Asahi, the IPO bankers would not have worked so hard on the ill-fated deal. Another person called the process a waste of time.While the IPO bankers drowned their sorrows that evening, they held on to hope that the company would soon call back to try again with different terms. In fact, AB InBev executives were already on the phone with Lazard and Rothschild to proceed with conversations about the sale of Carlton & United.In its announcement of the sale to Asahi on Friday, AB InBev again dangled the prospect of renewing the listing plans. That’s unlikely to happen before next year, people familiar with the situation said. AB InBev’s shares rebounded Friday on news of the deal, gaining 5.5% in Brussels.Asahi’s advisers on the acquisition could earn as much as $35 million while the banks with AB InBev are poised to make as much as $40 million, according to estimates from Freeman Consulting Services.Representatives for AB InBev, Lazard, Rothschild and JPMorgan declined to comment. Morgan Stanley didn’t immediately have a comment. A spokesman for Asahi couldn’t be reached outside regular business hours.Once again, executives and bankers scrambled through the night on Thursday after media reports about Asahi’s potential interest. Having sealed the deal, they’ve planned a few rounds of drinks for Friday night.(Adds additional advisers in third paragraph.)\--With assistance from Fion Li, Manuel Baigorri and Liana Baker.To contact the reporters on this story: Thomas Buckley in London at email@example.com;Vinicy Chan in Hong Kong at firstname.lastname@example.org;Dinesh Nair in London at email@example.com;Crystal Tse in Hong Kong at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Aaron Kirchfeld at email@example.com, ;Kenneth Wong at firstname.lastname@example.org, Eric PfannerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The May Japanese MoM All Industry Activity Index data release shocked the street analysts. The Kiwi pair kept lingering near its 3-month top vicinity on Friday.
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(Bloomberg) -- Anheuser-Busch InBev NV bounced back quickly from the failed initial public offering of its Asian unit, selling Australian beer assets in a deal valued at A$16 billion ($11.3 billion) and keeping alive the prospect of a share sale.The disposal of Foster’s and other brands to Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. less than a week after the IPO was pulled shows that the world’s largest brewer means business about cutting its $100 billion-plus debt pile. AB InBev shares rose as much as 5.6%, the steepest gain in almost five months. The bonds also climbed.The deal furthers Asahi’s overseas expansion as the domestic beer market languishes. The company plans to finance the deal with a share sale worth as much as 200 billion yen ($1.9 billion), subordinated bonds and a 1.2 trillion-yen bridge loan.By selling the Carlton & United unit, AB InBev removes a slow-growing part of its Asia-Pacific empire, potentially making any future IPO more attractive to investors who balked at the previous deal’s valuation. The company had aimed to raise as much as $9.8 billion in what would have been the year’s biggest initial offering.The IPO reversal and quick sale to Asahi follow AB InBev Chief Executive Officer Carlos Brito’s previous playbook. Throughout his tenure -- including the $106 billion purchase of rival SABMiller that cemented the brewer’s global dominance -- he has often met initial resistance to his dealmaking plans before achieving his main goals in the end.The so-called megabrew deal also saddled AB InBev with mammoth borrowings, which prompted the company to slash its dividend last year and to plan the aborted IPO. Standard & Poor’s has a negative outlook on the debt -- ranked A-, the fourth-lowest investment grade -- and analysts have raised the possibility of further disposals.Balance Sheet“While the stretched balance sheet appears to be leading to asset sales, we think the group is worth a lot more than is currently implied by the shares, especially as the company delevers,” wrote Nico von Stackelberg, an analyst at Liberum.AB InBev’s shares have risen 44% this year. Its 3 billion-euro ($3.4 billion) 2028 note added 0.3 cents to 112 cents on Friday, lifting it to the highest since September 2016, based on data compiled by Bloomberg.When acquiring SABMiller in 2016, a deal that gave the Belgian company control over one-third of the world’s beer, AB InBev submitted five incremental offers until shareholders finally agreed to a takeover. AB InBev then quickly moved to sell prized brands in Europe and China to satisfy antitrust concerns, which focused the business more on the emerging world.AB InBev signaled Friday that it could return with a plan to sell Budweiser Brewing Co. APAC. Potential investors will seek a more appealing valuation, after the former price range valued the unit at 28.5 times to 33.5 times consensus 2020 earnings, above the ratios for both Heineken NV and Carlsberg A/S.SABMiller DealThe Belgian company acquired Carlton & United through the purchase of SABMiller. The Budweiser maker still has a major presence in Asia, particularly in China, though it’s facing challenges there amid shifting trends. Younger consumers are moving away from traditional beers toward higher-priced craft brews and cocktails, while competition is spiking after rival Heineken forged a blockbuster deal with a state-owned company.Carlton & United, whose brands also include Victoria Bitter, accounts for almost half the beer market in Australia. While Foster’s is well known internationally as an Australian brew, it’s much less commonly consumed domestically than abroad. Heineken makes it in Europe under license.What Bloomberg Intelligence Says“Selling Carlton & United Breweries to Asahi for about $11.3 billion sheds a low-growth, high-margin asset, and allows for reinvestment into better growth markets.”Duncan Fox, consumer products analystClick here to read the pieceThe deal will give Asahi, known for is Super Dry lager, a major boost in Australia. It is already the company’s second-largest overseas market behind Europe, but its presence has been overshadowed by Carlton & United and Kirin Holdings Co.’s Lion, which combined account for a 90% share, according to research firm IBISWorld.In January, Asahi announced a $330 million purchase of the brewing business of Fuller, Smith & Turner Plc in the U.K. In 2016, it bought Peroni, Grolsch and Pilsner Urquell lagers from Anheuser-Busch and SABMiller in separate deals worth around $11 billion.Lazard and Freshfields advised AB InBev on the Carlton & United sale. Rothschild & Co. advised Asahi.(Updates with Asahi financing in third paragraph.)\--With assistance from Gearoid Reidy.To contact the reporters on this story: Lisa Du in Tokyo at email@example.com;Thomas Buckley in London at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Rachel Chang at email@example.com, ;Eric Pfanner at firstname.lastname@example.org, Thomas Mulier, John LauermanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
BRUSSELS/LONDON (Reuters) - Anheuser-Busch InBev , the world's largest brewer, is selling its Australian operations to Japan's Asahi for $11 billion and could revive the stalled flotation of its Asian business as it looks to cut debt. For Asahi, the deal is its biggest ever and, according to a source close to the negotiations, will turn the Japanese firm into the world's third biggest brewer after AB InBev and Heineken . The transaction comes only a week after AB InBev shelved an initial public offering (IPO) to sell a 15% stake in its Asian operations, including Australia, citing factors including unfavourable market conditions.