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Bottler News

Tracking Competitor Developments


Ambev Posts 59 Percent Slide In Profit In Q1

Brazilian brewer Ambev, which said COVID-19 began to dampen sales in mid-March, posted a first quarter profit of $193 million, 59 percent less than the same period last year. The pandemic led to “significant changes” in its market dynamics, both domestically and internationally, though online sales were up. Gross operating profit (EBITDA) was $751 million in the quarter, 17.3 percent less than last year. Turnover fell 0.3 percent, or $2.236 billion. Beer sales volume decreased 11.5 percent in the quarter, while non-alcoholic beverages fell 1.2 percent. The company noted that it experienced a 27 percent drop in volumes in April, due to the pandemic.[Image Credit: © Ambev]


Asahi Borrows $11B To Buy AB InBev’s Australian Subsidiary

Brewer Asahi Group Holdings plans to borrow $11 billion from Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp (SMBC) to fund its acquisition of Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Australian subsidiary. The company said in a statement it had signed a contract for the loan from SMBC. AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer, agreed to sell its Australian business to Asahi in July 2019, after briefly shelving a planned Hong Kong initial public offering of its Asia-Pacific arm, Budweiser Brewing Company APAC, amid months of anti-government street protests in the city.[Image Credit: © Asahi Group Holdings, Ltd.]

Asahi Q1 Profit Drops 45 Percent As Bar, Restaurant Sales Vanish

Japanese brewer Asahi Group Holdings has suspended financial estimates, citing pandemic-related uncertainty, after posting a 45 percent drop in first-quarter operating profit. Lockdown drinking has gained popularity – the company has been actively promoting online parties over Zoom – but a sharp drop-off in demand from shuttered restaurants and bars clobbered its alcohol business. The company booked an operating profit of $120.59 million in the first quarter, in the quarter through end-March compared with $217 million in the same period last year. Meanwhile, Asahi’s planned acquisition of AB InBev’s Australian business Carlton & United Breweries is expected to close on June 1.[Image Credit: © Asahi Group Holdings, Ltd.]


Britvic Expects To Weather Loss Of On-Trade Business During The Pandemic

The loss of sales – between $14.8 million and $22.2 million a month – from the pandemic-related closings of bars, pubs, and restaurants in the U.K. will not be offset by recent increases in supermarket sales, according to Robinsons and J2O maker Britvic. Investors, meanwhile, wonder whether they will be paying for the extra costs, with suspension of a planned interim dividend. Analysts at Jefferies said a postponement had “potential” but said the company had enough cash to endure the crisis. JP Morgan analysts expect a dividend suspension but see a boost in sales from pre-lockdown stockpiling and strong supermarket sales. Britvic lost a major sponsorship marketing opportunity when the Wimbledon tennis championship was canceled in April due to the pandemic.[Image Credit: © Britvic PLC]


Carlsberg U.K., Marston’s Create $957M Joint Venture

Brewer Carlsberg U.K. and independent brewing and pub retailing business Marston's PLC have created the Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company (CMBC), a joint venture valued at $957 million that would unite two companies whose combined sales area nearly $2.5 billion. One analyst said the deal will probably be typical of future deals under the current difficult conditions. It provides Marston's with cash to help re-start its pubs business and provide working capital and funding for “bolt-on opportunities.” Another analyst said the move would create "a stronger, more competitive U.K. brewer with a complementary brand portfolio across ale (Wainwrights, Jennings and Tetleys), lager (Carlsberg, San Miguel, Estrella and Erdinger) and craft (Shipyard, Founders and Brooklyn)." Marston’s PLC is a leading pub operator and independent brewer of premium cask and packaged ales, including Hobgoblin, Wainwright, Marston’s Pedigree and 61 Deep. Marston’s also operates a number of brands under licensing and distribution agreements with global brand owners such as Estrella Damm, Shipyard, Erdinger, Warsteiner and Kirin. The transaction is expected to complete in the third financial quarter of this year. [Image Credit: © Carlsberg Breweries A/S]


Developers Of Plant-Based Biodegradable Drinks Bottles See Commercialization By 2023

Although the technology is still several years from the marketplace, Coca-Cola and Danish brewer Carlsberg have invested in the Paper Bottle Project, whose goal is to replace plastic bottles with a sturdy all-plant material that completely decomposes within one year. The project is run by the Paper Bottle Company (Pabaco), a joint venture of paper packaging developer BillerudKorsnäs and Austrian plastics manufacturer ALPLA. Dutch biochemical company Avantium is developing a plant-based material (PEF) strong enough to hold drinks and still biodegradable within one year, by 2023. Carlsberg was an early supporter of the technology.[Image Credit: © WebWire/The Coca-Cola Company]

RJ Corp

India’s Varun Beverages Battered By Coronavirus Lockdown

Large PepsiCo franchisee Varun Beverages (Haryana, India) reported weak volume growth during the January-March quarter, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic lockdown. The company's organic volumes were hit in the last 10 days of March due to the spread of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown, the company said. Lower volumes dragged core performance as profit before tax for the quarter fell 87.5 percent from the same period last year. The company said it sold its entire inventory of finished goods and also resumed functions at some of its production facilities in April with the relaxation of the lockdown. Its international and institutional business were also expected to take a hit due to the pandemic.[Image Credit: © RJCORP]
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