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AB InBev plans to raise up to $4.8bn in IPO of Asia unit

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Anheuser-Busch InBev has announced plans to raise up to HK$37.9bn ($4.8bn) through the initial public offering of its Asian business, after the world’s biggest brewer revived last week stalled plans for a Hong Kong flotation.

AB InBev announced a price range of HK$27 to HK$30 per share for the IPO with a float of 1.3bn shares, 9.5 per cent of total share capital, putting the Asia unit’s offering on track to raise between $4.3bn to $4.8bn.

That price range values the Asia unit of the world’s biggest brewer at between $45bn to $50bn.

AB InBev first applied to list Budweiser APAC in May, hoping to raise almost $10bn, but shelved the plan in July when investors balked at the price.

Having since sold its more mature Australian operations to Japan’s brewer Asahi in an $11bn deal, the new iteration of Budweiser APAC saw revenues rise 7.4 per cent to $6.74bn last year.

While heavily indebted parent AB InBev said in its first-quarter results that its brand portfolio and position in the industry “provide an attractive platform for potential M&A” in Asia, analysts at Bernstein cautioned that the “lack of attractive and available potential targets is a clear limiting factor”.

Still, the analysts added the separate listing “could potentially bring into play assets that would not be up for sale in return for a cash consideration only, as well as making a meaningful contribution” to reducing the company’s debt.

The company will begin building its book on Wednesday. Expected pricing is on September 23 and trading is set to begin on September 30.

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Via Financial Times

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