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.
Glass still half-empty for SABMiller’s move on beer market leader Foster’s
SABMiller needs to go higher to get Foster's talking, that's for sure.
But judging from the way SABMiller chief executive Graham Mackay's briefing went down on Tuesday night our time, there's not much appetite in the brewing behemoth's home market for a large increase.
Advertisement: Story continues below The analysts who attended the SABMiller briefing were polite, but sceptical, about the logic of a Foster's acquisition and that was reflected in a 3.6 per cent slide in SABMiller's share price, on a day when the London market rose 1.44 per cent.
Mackay partly set himself up for the reaction by basing his presentation around an assessment of Foster's and its home market that damned them with faint praise.
Australia was a fast-growing economy by Western standards that was hooked into the Asian boom (Foster's if acquired will be part of SABMiller's Asian division).
He said beer profit margins here were high and Foster's was the market leader.
But Mackay also noted that Australian beer consumption per capita had been falling for years - it had halved since the mid-'70s and was now back to levels seen in the late 1940s - and said beer's 44 per cent share of alcohol consumption in Australia was well below shares of 55 per cent in the US, 51 per cent in Canada and 49 per cent in Britain.
Beer had ''lost incremental drinkers and occasions'', he said, and on top of that, alcohol's overall share of Australian household spending has declined by about 40 per cent since 1981 to about 2 per cent, compared with 3.6 per cent in Britain.
Mackay said SABMiller believed alcohol's share of the Australian purse had stabilised, but he also acknowledged that Foster's was operating in a mature market.
This puts the deal Mackay wants to do at odds with SABMiller's core strategy of leveraging its revenue and profit growth by taking exposure to emerging regions and beer markets, such as China, where its Snow brand is the market leader.
In the briefing, Mackay edged his way around that logical redoubt by arguing that Foster's was underperforming.
The Australian group had ''sub-optimal'' brand positioning, including overlapping brands, and a ''mixed'' record on innovation, he said.
And while it had seven of the top 10 brands in the Australian market, it had not been able to develop them and had seen its market share decline from 54 per cent to 50.3 per cent between 2005-2006 and 2009-1010, albeit with 2 percentage points of that coming from the loss of the Boags stable to Lion Nathan.
He said SABMiller, five times as large, would deliver operational economies of scale, in purchasing, for example.
But the key was that his company would boost Foster's profits in a stagnant market by segmenting consumers, channels and occasions and tailoring the beers it offers to fit them.
In essence then, Mackay is arguing that he will do what Foster's own chief executive, John Pollaers, also aims to do - improve Foster's beer volumes faster than the market overall and reclaim market share.
In the briefing, analysts questioned the apparent mismatch between SABMiller's existing strategy of focusing on emerging markets that offer high beer volume growth with the mature market Foster's now operates in.
Mackay's answer, that even after a Foster's acquisition three quarters of SABMiller's profit would come from emerging markets, didn't address that issue and he acknowledged that even if his renovation of Foster's worked, Foster's would not build beer volumes as quickly as the group as a whole.
Analysts also asked whether SABMiller could boost Foster's profitability without destabilising what has been a very cosy pricing environment in this country.
Beer prices here have tended to outpace inflation. The reverse is the case in SABMiller's other markets and as one analyst put it, if it wants to boost Foster's market share, SABMiller might need to either price its beer more aggressively or spend more on marketing.
Either would squeeze profit margins and profits would only rise if the volume gains they produced outweighed the cost.
SABMiller needs to offer more to get Foster's onside and conduct confirmatory due diligence that among other things will determine how secure Foster's' Corona franchise is if control passes and that there is still room for a meeting of the minds.
The new market price of $5.20 is in earnings multiple terms in line with the price Kirin paid to own Lion Nathan outright in 2009 and SABMiller could pay a bit more and still get an earnings per share uplift because it trades on a higher earnings multiple.
SABMiller is also undervaluing Foster's recent win against the Australian Taxation Office over claims for tax on transactions in the '80s and '90s.
It doesn't load into the earnings multiple calculation because its not a sustained income boost, but Foster's will get back $256.7 million it paid the tax office after its court win, claim lost interest and be free to use $447.5 million of tax losses.
The total value windfall is about $750 million and in its takeover sums SABMiller has only recognised the first $256.7 million: room for a rise, then - but judging from London's reaction, not to around $6 as the Foster's camp wants.
23 Jun. 2011