A-B InBev will continue to pay down debt

A-B InBev will continue to pay down debt

Anheuser-Busch InBev has said it has completed the refinancing of more than US$52bn in loans used to create the world's biggest brewer via the most expensive deal in brewing industry history.

A-B InBev said today (26 February) that it has obtained $17.2bn in long-term bank financing.

The deal enables the Stella Artois and Budweiser brewer to "fully refinance" the remainder of $54bn in loans taken out by InBev in order to acquire its rival in late 2008.

A-B InBev said the fresh financing consists of a $13bn credit facility, including an $8bn five-year, revolving credit facility and a $5bn three-year, fixed term facility. It has also secured $4.2bn in long-term bilateral facilities.

"We are pleased to have completed the refinancing of our original acquisition facility less than 16 months after the closing of the acquisition of Anheuser-Busch," said A-B InBev chief financial officer Felipe Dutra.

He added that the firm "will continue our journey towards the below 2.0x net debt to EBITDA leverage target, which remains an ongoing top priority for our company".

The brewer will face one-off, non-cash charges of $29m and $157m in the first and second quarters of 2010 respectively, as a result of the deal.

It also faces further one-off charges of $150m in both quarters, because today's announced deal renders existing hedging on interest rate swaps obselete.

Yesterday, just-drinks reported that trade unions across Western Europe are considering strike action against A-B InBev, in opposition to the brewer's plans to 10% of its workforce in the region.

The group raised more than $7bn via disposals of non-core assets in 2009.