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Global hop market

A 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 Russia

Germany 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.

Philippines’ San Miguel says no longer selling $500 mln banking stake

Feb 13 San Miguel Corp has decided to keep its $500 million controlling stake in an unlisted bank, opting to pursue growth in the sector instead of exiting due to lack of presence, the president of the Philippine conglomerate said on Friday.

San Miguel, whose varied interests include power generation, telecommunications and beer, now plans to inject up to 6 billion pesos ($126 million) in Bank of Commerce, President Ramon Ang said in an interview, after failing to find a buyer.

"We are never going to sell," Ang told Reuters. "We can be a minority shareholder if someone can put money in and manage it."

San Miguel has been looking to sell out of banking for at least two years and use the proceeds to expand in oil and gas. It came close in 2013 when talks ended with Malaysian lender CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, and again in October last year with Japan's Mizuho Financial Group Inc.

The conglomerate has pursued aggressive expansion since 2008 in search of revenue, adding such businesses as mining and oil refining to its staple of food and beverage. It is still looking for acquisitions, but will now keep banking in its portfolio.

San Miguel owns about 60 percent of Bank of Commerce, ranked 17th locally by assets. It aims to grow the lender through its application for a universal banking licence which would allow it to offer investment banking services, Ang said.

Astro del Castillo, managing director of brokerage First Grade Finance, said the challenge for Bank of Commerce is simply to attract more customers, both retail and institutional.

"They have to boost their accounts and their lending and that is a lot of work," del Castillo said.

San Miguel plans to sell up to 73 billion pesos worth of preferred shares over three years, partly to fund expansion. It will offer the first 30 billion pesos worth in March, said Chief Financial Officer Ferdinand Constantino at the same interview.

Ang also said talks to partner Australia's Telstra Corp Ltd in Internet services in the Philippines were ongoing, but that San Miguel could launch a service alone this year.

"With or without partners we will go ahead," he said.

Telstra late Friday confirmed the ongoing negotiations.

"We are still in talks with San Miguel on a potential investment in the Philippines," James Molan, group manager for international communications of Telstra, said in an e-mail.

($1 = 47.4970 Philippine pesos)

15 Feb. 2016



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