JAPAN’S Asahi has agreed to buy a group of Eastern European brewing businesses from AB InBev for €7.3bn (US$7.76bn) as it seeks greater growth from abroad.
Asahi has bought operations in five countries – the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Romania – that were owned by SABMiller prior to its merger with AB InBev.
The deal includes popular beer brands Tyskie, Kozel and Pilsner Urquell, which maintains top market share in the Czech Republic, the world’s highest per capita beer-drinking country.
Asahi says the deal supports its strategy of using overseas markets as the company’s “growth engine”. This has become an imperative, as deflation and a falling population has negatively affected Japan’s domestic market.
The move follows Asahi’s purchase earlier this year of SABMiller’s European Peroni and Grolsch brands for €2.6bn.
SABMiller’s European assets were put up for sale to ease approval from regulators for its mega-merger with AB InBev that tied up the world’s two largest brewers in a deal worth more than US$100bn.
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