Asahi completes acquisition of Carlton & United Breweries from A-B InBev

Japan’s Asahi Group Holdings has completed the acquisition of Australia’s Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) from Anheuser-Busch InBev (A-B InBev) for A$16 billion (US$11bn).

Brewer of brands such as Foster’s, Victoria Bitter and Carlton Draught, CUB is based in Melbourne with five breweries and offices in Australia.

These will join Asahi brands such as Pilsner Urqell, Peroni and Asahi Super Dry.

As part of the deal, A-B InBev has granted Asahi rights to sell its global and international brands in Australia. Proceeds from the sale of the Australian business will be used by A-B InBev to pay down debt.

Carlos Brito, chief executive of A-B InBev, said: “Despite the challenging environment, our colleagues working on this transaction showed great dedication and remained focused on delivering to its completion. I would like to thank them and also the CUB team for their continued commitment and resilience.”

Last month, the world’s largest brewer reported that its first-quarter profits had been severely hit as the coronavirus pandemic forced the closure of bars, sports venues and restaurants, cutting off a significant source of sales. A-B InBev, which owns such as Budweiser and Stella Artois, revealed that with beer volumes collapsing by a third in April, it expected the second quarter to be even worse.

Sales at Asahi in the first quarter of 2020 were ¥409 billion (US$3.75bn), down 4.7 per cent on the same period in 2019, while net profit slipped 36 per cent to ¥8.3bn ($76.3m).