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4-2017

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.

Singha Uses Beer Cashflow to Fund Diversification in Thailand Property, Foreign Assets

Singha Corp, Thailand's leading beverage maker, is using the cash flow generated by beer sales to fund increasing diversification in property and other new businesses, according to Piti Bhirom Bhakdi, Managing Director of Boon Rawd Trading Co., Ltd., the group's main sales arm.

Singha, also known as Boon Rawd Brewery Co., Ltd., was set up in 1933 as Thailand's first brewer by Piti's great-grandfather. The closely-held family company, had a 68% share of Thailand's beer market in 2015. The company produces beer under the Singha, Leo and Singha Light brands. Singha Beer is also exported to over 50 countries around the world.

Singha's property affiliate, Singha Estate PCL, was formed in September 2014 through takeover of a listed property firm and consolidation with Singha's existing property assets, including the Santiburi Beach Resort and Spa, a five-star hotel on Koh Samui, one of Thailand's top tourist destinations.

Singha Estate is fast expanding and controls a range of commercial, residential and hotel business, including 26 hotels in the United Kingdom. Singha Estate is listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand, or SET, under the trading symbol "S".

"We will continue to diversify and beyond Singha Estate we are preparing to spinoff another 8 or 9 other businesses," said Piti, addressing the recent 'Forbes Thailand Forum 2016: The Next Tycoons' seminar. "If we considered to be only in the beer business it would too narrow."

In the beer business, Singha will focus on maintaining profit margins, rather than market share, in order to fund diversification, Piti said.

In the past five years the number of employees of the group rose from 5,000 to around 20,000.

Piti was born in 1979, the second son of Santi Bhirom Bhakdi, the President & CEO of Singha Corp. Santi and family ranked 7th in Forbes list of Thailand's 50 Richest 2015, with a net worth of $2.9 billion.

Piti, who goes by the nickname 'Todd', attended high school as Wilbraham & Monson Academy, before studying Industrial Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, both institutions located in Massachusetts, USA.

After graduating in 2002, Piti first worked in the US at Wyman-Gordon, a components manufacturer for the aerospace and energy sectors. Piti then came back to Thailand and started moving up the echelons in the family business, successively looking after advertising then marketing at Boon Rawd Trading, before taking his current position. He is also a director at Singha Corp.

Besides beer, water and electrolyte drinks, the group has close to a hundred affiliates involved in businesses including hotel and hospitality, food such as Thai jasmine rice and snacks, packaging, restaurant chains, such as Est.33 by Singha, and fashion, under the Singha Life brand, which is now expanding into sport apparel.

Singha also supports social and community enterprise through its famed Singha Park in Chiang Rai, a province in Thailand's Northern region.

26 Apr. 2016

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