AB InBev to list minority stakes in Asian unit

AB Inbev

The world’s largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev, AB InBev, said it is planning to list minority stakes in its Asian business in a plan to lead the region’s consumer goods company.

The plan was released with its first-quarter results, it tallies with reports that the brewer had enlisted banks to work on a partial sale of the Asia-Pacific business.

The brewer of Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois is saddled with more than $100 billion in debt after its 2016 purchase of nearest rival SABMiller and ultimately wants to bring its core profit (EBITDA) ratio down to 2 from 4.6 at the end of 2018.

The Belgium-based company acknowledged that a minority stake listing would accelerate this process, but its 2020 commitment to reduce the multiple to below 4 was not dependent on it.

The company said in a statement that the merits of the initiative were based on the idea of creating an Asia-Pacific champion.

“Furthermore, our superior portfolio of brands and leadership position in the beer industry provide an attractive platform for potential M&A in the region,” it said.