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.
Beer market of Vietnam: “Young tiger”Vietnam is one of the few big beer markets that continue to grow steadily. The beer popularity results from its low price, street consumption culture, and social motives. The outlooks of beer market as well as the Vietnamese economy inspire optimism, though the country is heavily dependent on export of goods. The state regulation can be called liberal, but the key risk for brewers is harbored in intensive rising of excise. Within TOP-4 there are two leaders, Sabeco and Heineken that grow at the fastest rates. The first company effectively employs its capacities, the second one focuses on marketing technologies. Almost 80% of the market belongs to century-old brands, yet the middle class and the youth are shifting their interest toward international premium that is growing taking share from the mainstream.
China. Baijiu far outperforming nation’s beer market
Macquarie rates the nation’s top distillers, including the Shanghai-listed Kweichow Moutai, and Shenzhen-listed Yanghe Brewery as “outperform”, tagging the first as its top pick among China’s alcoholic beverage companies.
“We consider Moutai a good defensive play in a weak market, given its continuing recovery in earnings growth, strong balance sheet, and cheap valuation,” Macquarie analysts led by Chen Zibo said in the report.
“We see potential ex-factory price hikes a share price catalyst. 10 per cent hike in average selling price would lead to 15 per cent increase in earnings, according to our sensitivity analysis.”
The growth of China’s alcoholic beverage industry has slumped since 2012, with Beijing stepping up its crackdown on corruption and extravagance. But the baijiu market still grew 12 per cent a year by value and 7 per cent by volume during 2012-2014, making it the most resilient performer among all major categories in the alcohol industry, far outperforming the nation’s beer market.
Baijiu sales have been recovering since the second half of 2014. Sales in October 2015 reached 49.43 billion yuan (HK$58.55 billion), a 15 per cent increase year on year.
“We expect Moutai’s net profit to gradually recover to 11 per cent and 10 per cent growth in its financial year of 2017 and 2018 respectively, compared to 5 per cent in 2015, mainly driven by volume growth in the high-end market on the back of product mix upgrades and its outstanding brand equity,” the report said.
The potential for an ex-factory price hike, and the ongoing reform of state-owned enterprise could provide a positive surprise to the earnings forecasts, the report said.
Macqaurie’s target price for the Moutai stock is 280 yuan for the 2017 financial year, based on a price-earnings ratio of 18. For Yanghe Brewery, the target price is 76 yuan, based on a price-earnings ratio of 15.
“We expect Yanghe’s net profit to grow by 13 per cent in financial year 2016, 16 per cent in 2017, and 16 per cent in 2018, higher than the estimated growth for Moutai, thanks to its strategic focus and strengthened leadership in the fastest growing, mass- and mid-end segments,” the report said.
But according to Elephant Magazine, a popular China-based encyclopedia-style e-magazine, the outlook for the sector is bleak as baijiu drinkers “would have no successors”.
“High-end baijiu revived only in 2015 as Chinese families sharply cut down the consumption of the drink in the last three yeas,” said one of its recent reports, pointing out that healthier diets and a more Western lifestyle marked by alcoholic drinks such as wine are keeping more and more Chinese away from baiju.
“Half of the main consumers who drink baijiu more than once a day are above 45, and 44 per cent of them are positioned at the bottom of the society. Baijiu consumers in China are dying.”
But analysts say it is wrong to undervalue competitive companies even in a sunset industry. “Leaders in sunset industries are a good buy as they profit from the ones forced out of a shrinking market. These leaders can offer you 10 times earnings growth in 10 years,” said a Hong Kong-based trader who did not want to be identified.
1 Feb. 2016