BELGIUM: A-B InBev silent on Eastern Europe sale

By | 15 June 2009

Anheuser-Busch InBev has declined to comment on fresh reports that it is seeking to offload brewing operations in Eastern Europe, as part of the brewer's plan to pay down debt.

Following reports out of Belgium and also in the Sunday Times newspaper that the brewing giant is looking to sell-off assets in Eastern Europe, a spokesperson for A-B InBev told just-drinks today (15 June) that the firm is "sticking to what we have said about disposals previously".

The brewer has reiterated on a number of occasions this year that it will look to sell certain assets in order to recoup $3.5bn of a $7bn bridge loan taken out to finance InBev's $52bn buyout of Anheuser-Busch late last year.

Rumours have swirled in recent months that A-B InBev might be tempted to sell its Czech beer unit, Staropramen, its German operations, though probably excluding Beck's, or perhaps even its Russian subsidiary, Sun InBev.

An industry source told just-drinks earlier this year that at least one party has shown interest in Sun InBev.

An analyst told just-drinks that consolidation between lesser foreign players in Russia, including A-B InBev, SABMiller and Turkey-based Efes, is likely at some point.

However, he said that A-B InBev was under no pressure to sell quickly, due to debt refinancing arrangements with banks, and that it may take at least a year for one of the players to make a move. 

Sectors: Beer & cider

Companies: InBev, Anheuser-Busch, SABMiller

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