© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Concentrated on a glass of Asahi beer at a bar in Singapore
By Yuki Nitta and Rocky Swift
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Asahi Group Holdings Group says it will aim to halve debt and give up on offshore investments after spending $ 11 billion to buy Anheuser-Busch operations InBev in Australia.
“We are not fundamentally considering any large-scale acquisitions,” said Atsushi Katsuki, who became Asahi’s new chief executive in March.
Owners of brands including Asahi Super Dry, Peroni and Pilsner Urquell will aim to reduce EBITDA debt (earnings before interest, taxes, amortization and amortization) to three times from six times at the end of December.
Last year, Asahi won regulatory approval to buy the Australian brand Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) after agreeing to sell other properties in the country. Katsuki previously led Asahi’s operations in Australia and Oceania before becoming CFO in 2019. In mature markets like Japan and Europe, Katsuki told Reuters he wants ” “premiumizing” products: selling beverages at higher prices when the population shrinks means higher sales. maybe not anymore.
In Japan, Asahi has been hit harder than rivals by the COVID-19 pandemic due to its reliance on selling kegs to restaurants and bars – many companies have struggled in the wake of the crisis. prolonged panic. Even so, the company in February forecasts that its full-year operating profit will exceed levels seen in 2019.
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