Kirin eyeing SMB swoop?

Kirin eyeing SMB swoop?

San Miguel Corp has confirmed that it is willing to sell its outstanding shares in San Miguel Brewery.

Commenting on a possible move by Japan's Kirin Holdings to take full control of San Miguel Brewery (SMB), San Miguel Corp chairman and CEO Eduardo Cojuangco told the Business Mirror newspaper: "It's a question of what is the right price."

San Miguel Corp confirmed his comments today (15 March). But, the group added that it "has not received any offer or proposal for its shares in SMB".
Kirin Holdings built up a 48% stake in Philippines-based SMB for a total PHP85.2bn (US$1.95bn) last year, by acquiring shares from both San Miguel Corp and private investors.

Late last year, SMB also acquired the international brewing assets of San Miguel Corp. However, San Miguel Corp continues to own all shares in SMB not held by Kirin.

A deal to take full control of SMB would benefit Kirin's strategy to expand in the Asia Pacific region and reduce its reliance on a sluggish domestic beer market.
Incoming president and CEO of Kirin, Senji Miyake, was quoted in Japan last week as saying that the group would like to control SMB.

Analysts believe a deal is more likely following the breakdown of merger talks between Kirin and Suntory.

"They [SMB and Kirin] will approach the Asian market with SMB international using this channel," JP Morgan analyst Masashi Kaneko told just-drinks last week.

Kirin last month reported a fall in sales and profits for 2009, despite a strong performance from the firm's Australian brewer, Lion Nathan.

The brewer aims to recoup 30% of annual net beer sales from outside of Japan by 2015. This figure was around 24% in 2009. For more on Kirin's Vision 2015 strategy, click here.