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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.

Thailand. Bottoms up! ThaiBev bucks weak demand as beer sales fuel growth

Chang Beer’s new look was a hit.

When ThaiBev launched a sleek new green bottle for its flagship Chang Beer brand, the market reaction was almost inebriating. The group’s net profit from beer surged by a staggering 207% year-on-year, while its total market share jumped from 30% to 38% in the span of a few quarters.

Analysts note that the extremely good performance from ThaiBev’s beer segment exceeded expectations. Kenneth Ng, analyst at CIMB, noted that the strong Q4 beer sales were not due to channel restocking effect, but was due to more positive market feedback after Chang’s makeover.

“The reality is, customer feedback was good, domestic sales surged and market share gains have come at the expense of [Chang’s rival] Leo. In fact, Thai Bev has actually kept channel inventory relatively light to ensure the freshness of beer stock,” Ng said.

Ng highlighted that thanks to the new green bottle, the price differential between Leo and Chang has narrowed, from THB4-5 two years ago to just THB1 for the big bottles. Small bottles are at price parity.

“Leo is not cutting retail prices but has increased trade rebates, which is effectively a price cut. Management does not believe that the beer fight this round centers around price, but thinks it is possible that Boon Rawd [Leo’s manufacturer] will react in some manner,” Ng noted.

Meanwhile, Jodie Foo, analyst at OCBC Investment Research, noted that apart from strong beer sales, corporate restructuring might prove to ThaiBev’s key growth catalyst this year.

“We understand from management that the corporate restructuring, which has been in talks, is also likely to happen this year. We could see a clearer alignment of business on the shareholdings front,” Foo noted.

2 Мар. 2016

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