Kirin Pays $2.5 Billion to Acquire 50% Stake in Brazil Brewer Schincariol

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Kirin Holdings Co., Japan’s second- largest brewer, paid 3.95 billion reais ($2.5 billion) to gain a majority stake in the Brazilian maker of Nova Schin beer, adding Latin America’s biggest beer market to its global footprint.

Kirin bought Aleadri-Schinni Participacoes e Representacoes SA, acquiring 50.45 percent of Schincariol Participacoes e Representacoes SA, Brazil’s second-largest beermaker, the Tokyo- based company said in a stock-exchange filing. The purchase, completed today, was funded with cash and loans.

The purchase of the closely held maker of Devassa Bem Loura and Glacial is the biggest since 2009 for Kirin, which has spent more than $12 billion on overseas acquisitions in the past five years as Japan’s declining and aging population crimps domestic demand for beer and soft drinks. Kirin bought all of Australia’s second-largest beermaker in 2009 and owns almost half of the Philippines’ San Miguel Brewery Inc.

“Beer demand is poised to grow in Brazil, and so buying a well-known brand is important instead of entering by itself,” said Koichi Ogawa, a chief portfolio manager at Daiwa SB Investments Ltd. in Tokyo. “Investing abroad is the most rational way for Japanese food companies to use their cash.”

Kirin slid 0.3 percent to 1,148 yen at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo, paring the stock’s advance this year to 0.8 percent. The benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average slipped 1.2 percent today.

‘Promising Targets’
Schincariol had 509 million reais in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization last year and the deal gives it an enterprise value of 8.654 billion reais, according to Kirin’s presentation documents.

That would imply Kirin is paying an enterprise value-to- Ebitda multiple of 17 times, compared with an average of 12.5 for beverage makers with a market value of at least $1 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“We have been looking for promising targets to gear toward further growth, and we found a prominent one in Brazil where we see potential,” Kirin President Senji Miyake said at a briefing in Tokyo. “The Brazilian market for beer and soft drinks outstrips that of Japan.”

Brazil is the world’s third-largest brewery market by volume, with China the biggest and the U.S. ranking second, according to market researcher Mintel International Group Inc.

Primo Schincariol Industria de Cervejas e Refrigerantes SA controls about 11 percent of the beer market in Brazil, while Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (ABI), the world’s biggest brewer, holds a share of about 70 percent, according to Nielsen data. Primo Schincariol is a unit of Schincariol Participacoes e Representacoes, said Kan Yamamoto, a Kirin spokesman.

Overseas Sales
Kirin said it will use its technology and marketing to help boost Schincariol’s annual sales by 10 percent on average.

Schincariol, which also makes soft drinks, juice and bottled water under the Schin and Skinka brands, had gross revenue of 5.7 billion reais last year, according to the statement. The Brazilian company employs about 10,000 people and derives about 82 percent of sales from beer and 18 percent from soft drinks, Kirin said.

It’s Kirin’s first acquisition in Latin America, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The company has an affiliate to sell Japanese sake in Brazil, Yamamoto said.

The ratio of 17 times enterprise value-to-Ebitda at which it made the purchase is almost double the 9.01 median of 10 similar deals from 2002 to 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Kirin paid a multiple of 13.13 when it took Australia’s No. 2 brewer Lion Nathan Ltd. private in 2009 for A$3.5 billion ($3.8 billion).

The Japanese brewer made about 23 percent of last year’s 2.2 trillion yen ($28.4 billion) sales abroad, compared with about 14 percent in revenue from overseas in 2005, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Credit Rating
Kirin’s A2 credit rating was put on review for a possible downgrade by Moody’s Investors Service. While the deal may benefit Kirin, the Japanese brewer is entering “a new market in which it has limited expertise,” Moody’s said.

Heineken NV (HEIA), the world’s third-largest brewer, had considered making an offer for Schincariol, people familiar with the matter said in May, and London’s Sunday Times reported that SABMiller Plc (SAB), the maker of Grolsch and Peroni, may have been interested in bidding for the Brazilian beermaker, without saying where it got the information.

Japanese companies have announced $46 billion of cross- border acquisitions in 2011, making it the busiest year for such deals since 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

A stronger yen also makes it cheaper for Japanese companies to make acquisitions abroad. The yen was at 77.42 per dollar as of 3:01 p.m. in Tokyo from 77.21 in New York yesterday. The Japanese currency reached 76.30 versus the dollar yesterday, the strongest since it touched a record 76.25 on March 17.

Citigroup Inc. advised Kirin, Japan’s second-largest brewer by volume, trailing Asahi Breweries Ltd. Kirin borrowed some of the funds for the acquisition in a bridge loan from Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. and Citigroup, Ryoichi Yonemura, general manager at the company’s strategic planning department said. The amount and terms of the loan weren’t disclosed.