Romania’s flagship beer Ursus could have Chinese flavor

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China Resources Beer Holdings Co., maker of the world’s most consumed beer, is considering a bid for SABMiller Plc’s central and eastern European assets, this would include also Ursus Breweries, the subsidiary of South African company in Romania.

The transaction is estimated at USD 6 billion, according to people familiar with the matter, foreign media shows.

A sale process for the assets, which include the brewer of Czech lager Pilsner Urquell, is expected to start next month after SABMiller’s deal with Anheuser-Busch InBev NV closes.

“AB InBev agreed to divest operations in Hungary, Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland to help secure regulatory approval for its about USD100 billion takeover of rival SABMiller. The company may prefer to sell to another brewer to help ensure a level playing field among competitors in these markets, the people said,” informs.

According to the quoted source, China Resources could go up against Japanese brewer Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. and financial bidders, including Swiss investment group Jacobs Holding AG, Poland’s Kulczyk Investments SA and CVC Capital Partners.

AB InBev already agreed to sell the Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime brands to Asahi for EUR 2.55 billion (USD 2.9 billion).

China Resources Beer reported first-half profit from continuing operations rose 45 percent to 605 million yuan (USD 91 million) due to higher average selling prices, enhanced production capacity and reduced materials costs. The brewer’s sales for the six months ended June 30 dropped 1.8 percent to 15.2 billion yuan.



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