AB-InBev on shortlist for Kingway Brewery deal, sources say

HONG KONG, March 2 — Anheuser-Busch InBev NV and two Chinese brewers are on the shorlist to buy most of the brewery assets being sold by China’s Kingway Brewery Holdings Ltd, sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The deal value could be as high as US$700 million (RM2.1 billion) and the short-listed bidders are expected to conduct due-diligence over the next two months, one of the sources said.

China Resources Enterprise Ltd, which owns Snow beer brand, and Beijing Yanjing Brewery Co Ltd are among the other companies that have advanced to the next round, sources said.

Kingway Brewery has invited bids for equity stakes in six breweries, all beer and beer-related trade marks, domestic and overseas distribution networks, two sources familiar with the matter said. The company plans to retain two of its production facilities, one of the sources said.

Kingway, with a market value of about US$655 million, does not plan to sell an equity stake in the company. The eventual winner can benefit from strong growth in China’s beer consumption.

China’s beer demand hit 450 million hectolitres in 2010, nearly twice that of the United States, and is expected to grow 5 per cent per year in coming years, double the 2.5 per cent growth forecast for the global market for 2011.

Anheuser-Busch and China Resources declined comment, while Kingway and Yanjing officials were not immediately available for comment. Sources declined to be identified as the discussions were private. — Reuters