SABMiller Fosters Group loses Corona Extra

SABMiller Foster's Group loses Corona Extra

SABMiller-owned Foster's Group has lost the licence to brew Grupo Modelo's Corona Extra in Australia.

SABMiller said today (9 March) that it has been informed by Modelo that the Mexican brewer will enact a change of control provision in the current agreement with Foster's. As a result, Foster's licence to brew Corona Extra in Australia will end with immediate effect.

The move follows Foster's' loss of Asahi last month and means that it will lose Corona's 600,000 hectolitres of volume sales in a market of around 18m hectolitres. However, SABMiller suggested that it anticipated the move after its acquisition of Foster's in December.

"SABMiller's expected financial returns from the acquisition of Foster's will remain broadly unchanged following this termination," the Peroni Nastro Azzurro brewer said today. Despite losing Corona, SABMiller has added Peroni, Miller Genuine Draft and Grolsch to the Foster's line-up.

It was not immediately clear where Corona is heading in Australia. Kirin Holdings-owned Lion is the number two brewer in the country, with other brewers a significant way behind it and Foster's.  

There will be speculation that Modelo has made the switch due to Anheuser-Busch InBev's 50% non-controlling stake in the Mexican brewer. A-B InBev and SABMiller are the number one and two global brewers respectively. 

However, Modelo has consistently exercised its independence in distribution deals. In China, the brewer recently dropped a deal with A-B InBev and linked up with Carlsberg.