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.
India. United Breweries looks to grow 5-6% in FY17
UBL posted a net profit of Rs 51.44 crore for the quarter ended March against Rs 48.13 crore a year ago.
Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Ramamurthy said with a debt equity ratio of 0.33, the company is under-leveraged.
Further, he said the company will grow evenly around 5-6 percent in FY17, adding, there could be improvement in volumes growth, going forward.
Below is the verbatim transcript of Shekhar Ramamurthy’s interview with Latha Venkatesh & Sonia Shenoy on CNBC-TV18.
Sonia: You have had higher sales and promotion expenses and that has actually caused your margins to go to single digits. Tell us whether this pressure will continue?
A: Let me just clarify one aspect here. You got to look at our performance for the full year and if you look at the full year you would find that our margins have actually improved. He have had 8 percent revenue growth and almost 17 percent EBITDA growth, 14 percent profit after tax (PAT). If you look at it in the context to the full year results are pretty decent.
Now coming to your specific question on our margins, sales and promotion expenses and commodity prices which you haven’t asked, but the commodity prices also play a part in margins. Now our sales and promotion expenses have been steady, there has neither been a significant increase or decrease. We have been around that 16 percent mark for very long time. That is the nature of our business.
If you understand that our business is state specific, we operate under state excise laws. There are different routes to market in each state, in fact if you look at our competition we are perhaps one of the lowest in terms of our selling and sales in promotion cost.
Latha: Just to elaborate on what Sonia is saying all the companies that we have seen in the last two quarters the pattern is the same; the rate of growth of revenues is lower than the rate of growth of EBITDA because raw materials have been kind and that is exactly the pattern you are also showing. Margins are better on a full year level but this wonky performance in the fourth quarter where your EBITDA has barely grown, should be take it as one-off, should we expect that in FY17 once again your EBITDA will grow faster than your revenues?
A: Typically, if you look at our performance over the last several years you would find that our profit growth has always been higher than our revenue growth. The reason for that is as business grows and as volumes grow there is a much better fixed cost absorption.
Latha: That is not the case in quarter four? That is why we are worrying?
A: That I would say as one-off. There are several factors which would come into it. So, you need to take a slightly longer term view. However, if you want to know what is happening to, let's say, commodity prices whilst they were very weak most of last year, they are beginning to strengthen.
Latha: Especially your raw material?
A: You are correct because 1) our key raw material is barley this is the season when the barley crops comes to the market and we buy it. Our maltsters buy it and barley prices this year have been 15 to 20 percent higher than the last year. There has also been a bit of a reduction in the quantum of barley that has come to the market this year. So, barley prices are going to be under stress for us. 2), sugar prices and if you look at all the industries who use sugar, you would find that sugar prices have strengthen quite significantly from January.
Latha: Therefore you should expect more pressure on margins? You wouldn’t be able to replicate the FY16 margins?
A: I didn’t say that.
Latha: I am asking you?
A: There are various other levers which we would look at and we expect to see better volume growth this year and better volume growth always helps. Last year if you recall, in the first two quarters the industry was pretty much flat and the growth in the industry volumes came only in Q3 & Q4. So, we expect the volumes to be better. We have already seen much better volumes in April for the industry and of course the weather, it is very hot, it is good for the industry.
Sonia: When you say better what you mean because the year has been dismal for the industry as a whole. Just 4 percent growth and you have seen just 3 percent growth. So, when you say better, do you think that we could get back to double digit growth in FY17 for volumes?
A: I don’t see that happening in FY16-17. I would say that the growth will be more even unlike last year where first half was a marginal reduction and second half grew. We see a more even growth this year; it will probably be a 5-6 percent on the overall bases and we will be able to talk about volume growth with a better sense once the season is over. Season sets the benchmark that what the whole year would be.
Sonia: One word on your interest cost as well, for the full year your interest cost have gone up, although marginally but they have still gone up to about Rs 76 crore odd. Can you take us through what the total debt stands at? The last time I checked, it was about Rs 650 crore. Has it gone up and do you expect to bring down interest cost any time soon?
A: Our debt is very low. If you look at our debt equity it is 0.33 or in that order of magnitude so our debt is very low. This is just a little bit up and down and it is nothing significant. We are not anticipating any significant change in our debt profile. We are actually highly underleveraged.
Latha: I just want to confirm, the debt recovery tribunal (DRT) told you all not to pay dividend to Vijay Mallya for his holdings?
A: We have disclosed that the debt recovery tribunal has asked to not to pay dividends to one of our directors.
Latha: Any other instruction from the DRT or from the courts or from the banks with respect to this director’s holdings?
A: Whatever there is we have disclosed in our financial filings, so the DRT is one of them.
20 May. 2016