Tokyo-based brewer Asahi Group announced Tuesday it plans to buy five beer brands in Eastern Europe, owned by SABMiller, before it was acquired recently by Belgium-based Anheuser-Busch InBev, for EUR 7.3 billion (USD 7.8 billion), foreign media informs.
This is the largest purchase of a foreign beer operation by a Japanese brewer.
It’s about the beer brands in the Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Poland, Hungary and Romania. On local market, the targeted beer brands are one of the most popular: Ursus, Timisoreana, Ciucas, Stejar, Azuga.
In October, Asahi announced it was buying SABMiller beer assets in Western Europe such as Peroni and Grolsch. The acquisition needs to be approved by the EU’s anti-trust regulators. Asahi aims to complete the deal by December 2017.
The Asian brewer wants to offset slow growth in its home market and has sought to justify paying a higher price for overseas acquisitions based on the cost benefits it would extract and the ability to use the brands to boost its international sales.
Asahi said in a statement the acquisition will lift its overseas sales as a proportion of total sales to nearly a quarter, from 16 percent in October.
Asahi’s statement did not say how the deal would be funded. As of September, Asahi had USD 471 million in cash on its balance sheet.