INDIA: United Breweries cools Foster's speculation
United Breweries' part-owner, UK brewer Scottish & Newcastle, had been touted as a potential bidder for Foster's breweries in India, China, Vietnam, Fiji and Samoa. However, United Breweries CFO Lesley Jackson told just-drinks today (27 March) that the brewer was "not pursuing" the acquisition of Foster's brewery in the Indian state of Maharashtra.
"We already have three breweries in Maharashtra so the actual brewing assets are of limited interest to us. We're not in conversation with (Foster's)," Jackson said.
Jackson also played down the possibility of United Breweries securing the Foster's licence in India, arguing that there were "plusses and minuses" of striking such a deal.
She said that United Breweries "recognised" that there was a gap in its portfolio for a "Western, premium brand" and that "maybe the Foster's brand would be helpful". However, Jackson questioned the long-term potential of international beer brands in India, given the ban on alcohol advertising in the country and also asked whether the average Indian beer drinker could afford their premium price tag.
"It's never going to be a big market. Foster's has been in India for six to eight years and came into the market when it was less consolidated. They have only a 3-4% market share, which shows how incredibly difficult it is for international brands."
She added: "You'd need to look at whether Foster's has historically been positioned properly in India and whether its needs repositioning in terms of pricing. But, it's an academic question - we haven't given it much thought, we're not pursuing anything. We're not in talks with Foster's."
Jackson said United Breweries had "a big opportunity" with the Kingfisher brand in India and would "not want something to go head to head" with its flagship brand.
Just-drinks exclusively revealed two weeks ago that Foster's was looking to sell its Asian brewing assets after becoming dissatisfied with the returns from the businesses.
SABMiller is understood to be interested in Foster's assets in Asia but the sale process is believed to be at a very early stage with a conclusion still some way off.
SABMiller and S&N were said by industry analysts to be the most likely bidders for the breweries, given their licencing deals with Foster's in the US and Europe respectively.
Lacking the capital to expand as it would like, Foster’s Group seems set to sell its Asian brewing operations and seek partners to brew the Foster's brand under licence....
The global roll-out of InBev's Brazilian beer, Brahma, adds a third premium brand to the global brewer's international portfolio but some observers have suggested it's an unnecessary step which threat...
Foster's Group Ltd is expected to announce that it is lifting its offer for fellow Australian Southcorp, transforming three months of corporate hostility into a friendly takeover....
Cobra Beer has launched an alcohol-free beer in South Africa, the UK and in its European and Asian export markets....
Shares in Southcorp and Foster's have been halted from trading, pending an announcement....
Southcorp's share price has dropped below the offer price made by Foster's for the first time today (18 April)....
Foster's Group is considering upping its bid for Southcorp prior to extending its offer once again....
China Resources Snow Breweries Limited (CR Snow) has entered into an agreement with the Fuyang City government to acquire the assets of the Fuyang City Snowland Brewery Company in Anhui province for U...
- Is Diageo on the Brink of a Brain Drain?
- SABMiller edges Diageo as beer trumps spirits
- Focus - SABMiller's FY Sales Performance by Region
- Will Keurig Kold come to Coca-Cola Co's Rescue?
- Comment - Heineken's move for Pivovarna Lasko
- Rémy Cointreau eyes recovery after Q4 bounceback
- Carlsberg exec joins Diageo as Africa chief steps
- Diageo YTD sales come in flat
- Belvedere unveils executive team
- Stock Spirits recruits Drambuie head for MD role