Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Jul 30, 2004
Alliances & Joint Ventures
Heineken arm keen on stake in Indian breweries
Bangalore , July 29
THE next wave of consolidation is gathering pace in the Indian beer industry.
Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) Ltd, the Singapore arm of Heineken and makers of Tiger beer, has initiated talks with Mount Shivalik Group for joint venture operations that will see the launch of these brands in the Indian market.
APB's arrival has prompted Mount Shivalik, makers of Thunderbolt beer with a strong presence in the North, to seek "operational consolidation" with the brewing business of the South-based Mohan Breweries & Distilleries Ltd (MBDL), sources said.
Mr Rajiv Bali, Managing Director of Mount Shivalik, confirmed the developments.
"We are in talks with APB and a few other foreign brewers," he said, but refused to comment further on the specifics, only stating that negotiations were in early stages.
To a query on the possibility of consolidating operations with Mohan Breweries, Mr Bali said that nothing has been decided on that front.
Mount Shivalik owns breweries in Rajasthan and Punjab, while Mohan Breweries has plants in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
A common platform between the two domestic brewers, which has had close ties with the Mohan Meakins family, would give APB a strong platform to launch itself in India, the sources said. The emerging scenario is perhaps the best bet for any global brewer after market leaders United Breweries (UB) and Shaw Wallace Breweries Ltd finalised foreign partners in Scottish & Newcastle (S&N) and SABMiller.
It is learnt that APB's Director for Business Development, Mr Vivek Chhabra, who has had earlier stints with Britannia and Danone, is managing the company's India plans.
APB is 42.5 per cent owned by Heineken with Fraser & Neave (F&N), a pan-Asian consumer group, holding 37.5 per cent equity in the company.
The company operates 16 breweries in eight countries - Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. The latest move comes in the wake of the frenetic consolidation moves in the South-East Asian beer map, mainly focussed on China.
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