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Update - MEXICO: Anheuser-Busch InBev maintains silence on Modelo move

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  • Budweiser brewer refuses to comment on plans
  • Modelo CEO cools sale talk

Anheuser-Busch InBev has refused to comment on its intentions regarding Grupo Modelo, after the Mexican brewer's CEO said that the firm would resist outside takeover offers.

Modelo CEO Carlos Fernandez said yesterday (4 October) that the Corona beer brewer's ruling families had "no desire to sell". He was quoted in Mexican daily newspaper Milenio.

His comments reignited long-running speculation about whether Anheuser-Busch InBev will seek to gain full control of Modelo. A-B InBev recently won an arbitration case to claim a 50% non-controlling stake in Modelo, which is Mexico's largest brewer.

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A spokesperson for the Budweiser brewer refused to be drawn on plans for Modelo when contacted by just-drinks today. "We look forward to continuing our successful business relationship with Grupo Modelo," she said. "However, we will not comment on questions as to a possible future transaction."

Heineken's buyout of Modelo's main rival, FEMSA Cerveza, earlier this year has been cited as one reason why Modelo might seek a multinational buyer to partner with.

However, analysts predicted that A-B InBev would be in no rush to acquire control of Modelo, following the arbitration settlement in July this year.

"A-B InBev can now decide on the phasing in of the future steps in closing a deal on Modelo  and in the meantime it can strengthen its balance sheet, solve potential anti-monopoly issues and focus on the US top-line recovery," said Gerard Rijk, of ING Bank.


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