Grupo Modelo in expansive mood - CEO

Grupo Modelo in expansive mood - CEO

Mexico's largest brewer, Grupo Modelo, has confirmed that it is eyeing acquisitions in beer and other drinks categories in emerging markets.

A Modelo official confirmed chairman Carlos Fernandez as telling local financial daily Milenio: "If we see a good opportunity, we have the financing to make a purchase.” Fernandez said that China, Brazil and Venezuela are interesting markets due to their booming growth rates.

Modelo is also looking to expand its product portfolio through new launches or brand acquisitions, the official confirmed to just-drinks today (9 November). It is mulling strategic partnerships similar to the one struck recently with Nestle's bottled water division in Mexico.

Earlier this year, analysts speculated that Anheuser-Busch Inbev would seek to use its 50% non-controlling stake in Modelo to mount a full takeover of the brewer. However, Fernandez reiterated prior statements that the family-owned enterprise intends to remain independent.

Modelo will invest MXN5bn (US$400m) in its Mexican business in 2011, down from MXN7bn this year, reflecting a forecast fall in Mexico's GDP growth, to 3.8% in 2011 from an expected 5% this year.