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AB InBev to seek up to $4.85bn in Asian unit IPO

Roughly half of an earlier target.

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV revived the Hong Kong initial public offering of its Asian unit and is set to raise as much as HK$37.9 billion ($4.85 billion), roughly half of an earlier target, people with knowledge of the matter said.

About 1.26 billion of Budweiser Brewing Company APAC shares will be marketed at HK$27 to HK$30 each, said the people who asked not to be identified as the discussions are private. The brewer shelved a share sale in July in which it sought to raise as much as $9.8 billion, and agreed to sell its Australian business to Asahi Group for $11.3 billion a week later.

The offering, which is scheduled to begin Wednesday, has attracted GIC as a cornerstone investor with a commitment of about $1 billion, one of the people said. Budweiser Brewing is expected to price the shares on September 23 and to debut on September 30, the people said. The company will hold a press briefing at 5 p.m. Hong Kong time on Tuesday.

The return of Budweiser Brewing’s IPO is set to boost the Hong Kong bourse at a time when the city’s ongoing anti-government protests and trade tensions between US and China are rocking the market. It will also propel Hong Kong to surpass Shanghai as the world’s No 3 in terms of first-time share sale volume. Excluding Budweiser Brewing, companies have raised a total of $10.8 billion through IPOs in the financial hub this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

At $4.85 billion, the brewer’s IPO would be the world’s second largest this year, trailing Uber Technologies’s $8.1 billion US sale in May, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

“If Budweiser can go public successfully, it will have a positive impact on Hong Kong’s capital markets that would demonstrate there’s good appetite for major listings,” said Edward Au, a Hong Kong-based co-leader of national public offering group at Deloitte China. That will also pave an easier path for upcoming smaller share sales, he added.

Representatives for AB InBev and GIC declined to comment. JPMorgan Chase & Co and Morgan Stanley are the joint sponsors for the Hong Kong share sale.

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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