COMMENT: False start for SABMiller
However analysts had warned, since news of the placement, that a share issue - on the heels of the merger between London-listed South African Breweries (SAB) and Miller Brewing would put pressure on the shares in the short term.
In particular, there were concerns that SABMiller might be tempted to make acquisitions before bedding down the merger and analysts warned that SAB's management could find itself overstretched as it juggled a growing global business and the Miller consolidation.
But most of the concern centred on whether SABMiller was likely to make another transforming deal so soon after the Miller deal - with the list of candidates including Scottish & Newcastle (S&N), Fosters, Lion Nathan, Carlsberg and possibly Latin American brewers, such as Brazil's Ambev or Chile's CCU.
But as beverage analyst with WestLB Panmure, Stuart Price, said today: “We think that this is premature - we think that other mergers/acquisitions are in the offing, but they will not be the transformational deals that the market seems to be worried about. This is more likely to occur later in the year/next year and S&N is unlikely to be on the menu.”
More likely were fill-in deals to plug gaps in the SABMiller portfolio and geographic spread.
“SABMiller has stated that it has a significant pipeline of deals - with one proposed in the next 30-40 days. This is unlikely to be a significant deal but more likely a fill-in acquisition to complement its existing Central American businesses. However, the company is also targeting further deals in Central Europe (especially Poland), India and China,” said Price.
He went on: “Our suspicion is that this acquisition could be Panama's No 2 brewer Cervecerias Baru, and is quoted on the Panama stock exchange. Colombia's leading brewer Bavaria attempted to acquire this business, but this was blocked by the anti-monopoly commission on May 14 because Bavaria would gain too dominant a position in Panama and ‘create an illegal monopoly and lead to higher prices#;."
This would be a good move for SABMiller because it would further dilute the proportion of Rand-based earnings in favour of the dollar. “These are the kind of deals that are bread-and-butter to SABMiller, and so we could see relief in the rating once it is announced,” Price said.
Having recorded a third consecutive year of volume, margin and earnings growth, global brewing force, SAB Miller, was in a position to give shareholders a 27% dividend increase and eye the acquisition...
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The German-owned investment house, Deutsche Bank, has upgraded shares in the UK-based international brewing group, SABMiller, from "hold" to "buy", and raised its target for the shares from 830p to 95...
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