AmBev merges with Cerveceria Regional in Venezuela

AmBev merges with Cerveceria Regional in Venezuela

AmBev is to merge its beer business in Venezuela with the country's second largest brewer, Cerveceria Regional, in order to mount a stronger challenge to market leader Empresas Polar.

Brazil-based AmBev said at the end of last week that it will merge its Venezuela operations with Cerveceria Regional, which is owned by the Cisneros family. AmBev will take an initial 15% stake in the merged entity but has the option of raising this to a maximum of 20% over the next four years.
The Anheuser-Busch InBev-controlled brewer did not disclose financial details of the deal.

Its move will provide stiffer competition to Venezuela's beer market leader, Empresas Polar-controlled Cerveceria Polar. It also lands AmBev a greater share of one of Latin America's biggest beer-consuming nations.

"The transaction will also create a number of opportunities to leverage both companies’ complementary geographic footprint in the country and to share best practices," said AmBev.

Cerveceria Regional has around a 30% share of Venezuela's beer sales by volume, but Polar dominates the market and has stretched its lead recently, according to local reports. "Empresas Polar has been increasing its market share with a dynamic strategy in terms of marketing activities and the launch of new products," said market research group Euromonitor in a market review published in June this year.

"We are looking forward to working with the Regional team to build on the combined brand portfolios of Regional Light, Brahma and Zulia and bring further innovation to the Venezuelan beer market”, said Ricardo Moreira,
AmBev’s vice-president for Hispanic Latin America.

The deal is expected to be complete later this year.