The trend of complication of Russian beer market is going on and in several directions at the same time. The range has got wider, the import and small segments are growing, namely craft beer, alcohol-free beer and special flavor beer. At the same time, all ex-mega brands and light lagers by Russian brewers are experiencing a decline of their shares. AB InBev Efes, Heineken, MBC and Pivzavod Trekhsosenskiy have exceeded the market, Carlsberg was developing slower than the market and Ochakovo as well as some other mid-sized breweries have been cutting down their volumes. To a big extent brewers’ performance was connected to their ability to reach agreement with networks, sacrifice their margin and enter new markets. Craft brewers are facing a serious danger of producers’ registration introduction – de facto licensing. ...
The global outlooks of the legal market of cannabis are excellent. It is possible to simultaneously imagine dry law repeal and craft brewing boom but not in one but in several consumer categories. For alcohol is contained in liquids and cannabis derivatives can be in three physical forms.The value of legal market of cannabis and its products can reach 10% of the world beer market in five years, and in 2030-2040 even reach the same scope provided the current rates of legalization and development of market infrastructure remain at the same level. Cannabinoids are actively integrating into the food industry from chewing gum to beverages deforming the pharmaceutical and alcohol markets, they influence the trends of healthy lifestyle and beauty. ...
Beer market of Kazakhstan acquired both traits of East European countries and South Eastern Asia taking a transitional position between them by many criteria and consumption style. Yet there is a positive trend in beer production which differs Kazakhstan from most of the neighboring countries. The market has remained consolidated in the hands of two international players because of its small size. However, it faces dynamic processes such as fast growth of draft beer sales, up and downs of regional companies and Carlsberg Group’s ultimate expansion. Excessive mainstream segment has declined over the recent years, yet, Zhigulevskoe and national brands with regional links have yielded their positions to a range of new products. In our review special attention was paid to regional analysis of the markets. In 14 regions of Kazakhstan we compared the companies’ positions, the market price segmentation and DIOT channel development. Besides we have compared the beer market of Kazakhstan to neighboring countries. ...
InBev-Miller Deal Signals Tougher Merger Scrutiny In China
For the first time, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) distinguished between mass-market and premium brands, and defined the geographic market to be anything smaller than China itself when conditionally approving a merger.
“If a merger or an acquisition triggers the threshold of merger filing in China, the parties should pay particular attention to the definition of relevant market, e.g. whether the proposed relevant product market should be sub-segmented as high-end and mass-market; and whether the relevant geographic market is regional taking into account the distribution area and the transportation cost of the relevant product,” Kate Peng, a partner and antitrust specialist at King & Wood Mallesons in Beijing, told Bloomberg BNA in an e-mail.
Refined Market Analysis
MOFCOM defined the relevant product market as beer, but segmented the market into “mass brands” and “mid-to-high-end” brands based on price, defining the line between them as 75 cents (RMB 5 yuan) per 500 milliliters, according to an Aug. 8 Jones Day client alert.
MOFCOM also determined that competition among breweries usually takes place at a provincial level within China, the first time one of its published merger decisions defined the market narrower than the national level, the Jones Day client alert said.
In a phone interview, Zhang Yizhe, a partner with Jones Day in Beijing said the decision was likely to set a precedent, particularly for consumer items.
“It could happen to other products, as well,” Zhang said. “It makes sense from a certain perspective because under the antitrust law, products need to be considered as substitutable by consumers to be included in a single relevant market.”
An example might be mobile phones, Zhang said, with some consumers tending to purchase high-end ones and unwilling to consider low-end as a substitute. “The question is how large that group of consumer is,” she said. “If a sufficiently large number of consumers see high-end and low-end products as substitutes, they arguably should be included into a single relevant market.”
Province Markets Tapped
In its written decision, MOFCOM cited the ease of transportation as a consideration in setting the geographical market.
“As both AB InBev and SABMiller are active in the production and sales of beer in China, MOFCOM focused its assessment on the 24 provinces where the parties have horizontal overlaps,” it said in its July 29 decision. “Meanwhile, with the further improvement of the infrastructure, the transportation has become more convenient and the geographic scope where beer is sold tends to be expanded. This is especially true for premium/super-premium beer.”
The decision took note of China's highly concentrated beer market, where the top five brands consume 80 percent of the market, Jones Day said. Snow Breweries and AB InBev are the biggest and third-biggest players and have a combined share of 41 percent in mass brands and 52 percent in premium brands.
As a condition of the merger, InBev had to divest SBA Miller's 49 percent stake in Snow Breweries, which was done even before the formal merger filing.
“The combined entity would have substantial market shares in both product segments in many individual Chinese provinces, in some with combined market shares of more than 70 percent,” Jones Day noted.
Going forward, foreign brands may be implicated in reviews that look at more segmentation, Jones Day said.
“For most products, foreign companies tend to offer higher quality and better service at higher prices, while most domestic Chinese competitors offer commodity or generic products and have to compete on price,” the firm said. “The beer decision thus may lead to narrower ‘high-end’ market definitions in which foreign suppliers are attributed higher market shares than in the overall product category.”
Companies, of course, do their own analysis and sometimes segment the market and take proactive steps before filings to improve their chances of regulatory approval for mergers, said Michael Gu, a merger and antitrust specialist and partner at Beijing's AnJie law firm.
MOFCOM has considered market segments in the past, he said — just not in cases where mergers were approved with conditions.
For that reason, “We would think it is quite normal and reasonable for MOFCOM to subdivide the relevant market in SABMiller/AB InBev case,” he told Bloomberg BNA in an Aug. 16 e-mail.
China has been on an overseas buying spree in the past couple of years, as its own economy slows from the breakneck growth of just a few years ago. Some analysts said the MOFCOM decision could affect outbound investment.
“As the decision on Anheuser-Busch In-Bev/SABMiller was published, it will serve as a reference for MOFCOM's merger review in the future,” Peng told Bloomberg BNA. “Moreover, the overseas antitrust authorities will also take it as a reference to some extent, when reviewing Chinese firms' merger or acquisition of companies overseas.”
18 Авг. 2016