Global hop marketA local alternative to mass beer suggested by independent brewers has been successful and is now altering the global market. Beer is becoming more diversified, so transnational companies have to accept the new game rules and to switch focus to young and fast growing markets. All these processes increased the demand for aroma and bitter hop as well as their acreage expansion on two continents. However now there appeared a downward trend of alcohol consumption in the world, so even special sorts can soon turn to be sufficient. In this connection the dynamic American hop market is already facing some problems. EU hop producers have become more cautious, they are not racing to exceed the demand and look forward with more confidence, judging by the contract terms.
Hop Market in RussiaGermany still dominates the Russian market, yet over the recent two years one has been able observe a continuous success of Czech hop suppliers. Their expansion and growing popularity of hops from the United States became the drivers of supplies growth in 2016 despite the preceding modest harvest crop in the EU, as well as the factor of relative stability in 2017. In this connection, in 2017, the ratio of the varieties continued to shift towards the aroma ones, and the supplies of Magnum hop and other alpha varieties were reduced. However, the import of bitter hop pellets is partially replaced by extracts, especially from the major beer manufacturers. Total volumes of alpha acid supplies, according to our estimation, decreased by approximately 5% and returned to the level of 2015. Barth Haas Group continues dominating the hop products market; HVG also increased its weight. At the same time, Morris Hanbury significantly reduced the supplies in 2017.
10+1 trends of Russian beer market 2015-2017Despite of the moderately negative prognoses for 2017, the beer market can be stabilized soon. Yet the years of the negative dynamics have resulted in marketing being limited just to “optimization” and the art of balancing between price and volumes. Bigger supermarkets share means stronger trade marketing. These processes are connected to the majority of the described trends. At the same time, the federal brands inflation leads to searching for new tastes, sales channels and contact formats that expand the product range and diversify the beer market, but do not imply a substantial volume increase. Let us enumerate and further discuss the ten trends of the beer market we can see in 2015-2017 as well as the major event of 2017.
Beer market of Ukraine 2017In the first half of 2017, the Ukrainian beer market goes on decreasing slowly. Yet, the companies manage to compensate their lost volumes by raising prices and improving the sales structures. This results in the mid price market segment reduction while the sales of premium brands are rising. These processes are connected to position strengthening of companies Carlsberg Group and Oasis and the market share reduction of Obolon. Most of the novelties by the market leaders belong to craft or hard lemon categories.
Beer market of Russia 2016: PET goes to draftThe beer market of Russia was warmed up by the hot summer, but the preparation for large volume PET prohibition has already impacted it negatively. The year was successful for Efes, MBC and regional producers; Carlsberg’s positions were virtually stable but AB InBev and Heineken lost a part of market share having focused on the sales profitability. The dynamics of big brands was determined by how much the companies were willing to keep the prices down or by their promotional activity. In this context the economy segment of the beer market and sales of inexpensive draft beer were increasing. The premium segment started shrinking due to license brands migrating to the mainstream segment.
SABMiller Discipline Tested by Foster Bid
SABMiller said yesterday it will continue to pursue Australia’s biggest brewer after Foster’s rejected a A$9.5 billion ($10 billion) offer at A$4.90 a share. London-based SABMiller may have to raise its offer by 8.2 percent to A$5.30 a share to secure a friendly takeover, according to the median estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
“They have a management ethos of not overpaying for an asset,” said Samar Chand, an analyst at Barclays Capital in London. “SABMiller will make another bid, but it won’t be a step-change increase from where we are now.”
Mackay has made more than two dozen acquisitions since he moved the company’s listing to London in 1999, though he’s passed on many of the industry’s biggest deals since 2008. He shunned buying the beer unit of Fomento Economico Mexicano SAB last year after rival Heineken NV (HEIA) paid up a price it deemed too high. Foster’s, the most profitable independent major brewer, would be his biggest purchase yet and add about half the Australian beer market to SABMiller’s portfolio.
“We expect SABMiller to return with a higher bid, though question whether it can meet our view of the board’s expectations,” said Andy Bowley, an analyst at Citigroup Inc., who estimated that Foster’s board wants an offer of A$5.40 to A$5.50 a share. He has a “hold” rating on Foster’s.
Foster’s shares rose about 14 percent to A$5.14, the most in 25 years, yesterday. SABMiller’s shares slid 79 pence, or 3.6 percent, to 2,103 pence in London trading, the biggest decline since Jan. 19. SABMiller stock has risen almost fivefold since the listed in London at 428 pence a share in 1999. Heineken shares have gained about 35 percent in that period.
The offer for Foster’s “is expensive already,” said Gerard Rijk, an analyst at ING Groep in Amsterdam. “You only have to look at the SABMiller share price to know that.”
SABMiller’s offer for Foster’s, which last month split off its wine business, values the company at about 11.8 times the earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization reported by the beer division last year. Nomura estimates that the average multiple for key transactions in the beer industry in the past five years was an enterprise value of 13 times earnings.
The bid “is the first step, and then they will start talks” with the Foster’s board, said Rijk. In past brewing transactions where the bidder’s first proposal was rejected, offers were accepted at about 10 to 15 percent higher than the original bid, he said. InBev NV raised its 2008 bid for Anheuser-Busch Cos. to $70 from $65 before gaining control of the Budweiser maker.
SABMiller has a higher exposure to emerging markets than most rivals and is therefore considered to have less to lose by increasing its exposure to developed markets. The percentage of earnings from markets outside the U.S. and western Europe would drop to about 70 percent after buying Foster’s from more than 80 percent now, Deutsche Bank AG analyst Jonathan Fell estimated.
“SABMiller, or another potential suitor, will need to offer above A$5 per share for the Foster’s board to recommend a bid to shareholders,” Nomura analysts including David Cooke said in a note to investors yesterday. Nomura estimates A$5.10 is fair value for the company and that potential buyers “could find it difficult to bid much further above A$5.10 per share given the subdued growth returns profile” of Foster’s.
An acquisition may boost SABMiller’s profit margins. Foster’s beer business had an operating margin of about 38 percent in the 2010 fiscal year, the company said in a presentation to investors in February. That compares with SABMiller’s profit margin of 22 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
SABMiller said the proposed takeover will be funded from existing resources and new debt facilities. The brewer plans to fund the bid with about $10 billion of debt, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation. The company’s net debt to Ebitda ratio would increase to 3.6 times from 1.3 times, according to estimates by Ian Shackleton, an analyst at Nomura in London.
Acquiring Foster’s would give SABMiller access to a “resilient” economy in Australia, with increasing disposable income, CEO Mackay said yesterday. The company has a “sound understanding” of the Australian market, he said, and can improve revenue growth by selling more higher-priced beer.
The bid may spark a takeover battle for Foster’s. Japan’s Asahi Breweries Ltd. and Mexico’s Grupo Modelo SAB de CV are among rivals that may make offers, according to analysts. SABMiller may have to raise its bid by about 13 percent based on the price paid by Kirin Holdings Co. for Lion Nathan Ltd., Australia’s second-largest brewer, in 2009, said Dirk Van Vlaanderen, an analyst at Jefferies International in London.
“We expect SABMiller to return with a better offer given that the first offer, whilst looking to be reasonable on valuation, is by no means punchy,” Shore Capital analysts said in a note.
22 Jun. 2011