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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.

India. Vijay Mallya, not Heineken has the right to choose UB’s successor

Although Dutch brewer Heineken is the biggest stakeholder in United Breweries, joint venture partner Vijay Mallya has the right to choose his successor as chairman of the company, according to the terms of a 2009 agreement. That will need to be amended if Heineken wants to pick its own nominee, said several people aware of the matter.

Diageo, which controls United Spirits, recently reached a $75 million agreement with Mallya for his exit from the company. Mallya is under pressure from lenders and investigative agencies over more than Rs 9,000 crore in dues stemming from loans to Kingfisher Airlines, the carrier he promoted.

Heineken now has a 43 per cent stake in UB compared with Mallya's 32 per cent in 2009, both had 37.5 per cent each. After raising its stake recently to 42.2 per cent for 24 million euros, Heineken said the move would not change UB's governance structure. However, analysts said the deal is being regarded by many as a possible move to take control of UB.

To be sure, relations between Mallya and Heineken are said to be cordial in the absence of any ownership or financial tussle between the two, said people aware of the matter. It's also understood that Mallya's chairmanship will remain unchallenged even if his stake fell.

The situation may change if regulatory issues arise over his continuance as chairman, said one of the persons cited above.

"If the regulator challenges his role at UB, that is the only time Heineken will take a call," the person said. "And that would call for reworking the agreement."

The Dutch company has first right of refusal on any shares that may be sold by Mallya or pledged equity that lenders may want to dispose of, according to an informal understanding, said people aware of the matter.

28 Мар. 2016

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