Japan: "Third-category" beer shipments in May increased four times from the last year level
During May 2005 in Japan overall shipments of beer and beer-like alcoholic beverages by five major domestic breweries increased slightly by 0.3 %...more info
UK: SABMiller is going to continue to see major transactions taking place
SABMiller PLC Chief Financial Officer Malcolm Wyman announced on June 9 there will be further consolidation in the global beer industry despite recent large mergers
. Malcolm Wyman said: "We're going to continue to see major transactions taking place; consolidation is underway," according to Dow Jones Newswires. SABMiller ranks as the world's third largest brewer by volume, after Anheuser-Busch Cos. of the United States and Belgium-based InBev.
Wyman wouldn't mention which companies look attractive as possible acquisition targets, but said as one of the major global brewers, SABMiller can look at all major opportunities that arise. It was the product of a major sector consolidation itself, when South African Breweries bought Miller Brewing of the United States in 2002.
There has been speculation that SABMiller is interested in buying Colombia's Grupo Empresarial Bavaria, but Wyman wouldn't comment on specific deals. Analysts have suggested a price range of $7.5 billion (euro6.1 billion) to $9 billion (euro7.3 billion), although there are fears the potential benefits are limited. It is also thought Heineken NV is interested in the Colombian brewer.
There have been several huge deals in the beer industry of late. Interest in Bavaria comes just months after Belgian brewer Interbrew sealed a complex $11 billion (EUR 9 billion) cash-and-stock deal to take control of Latin America's biggest brewer, Brazil's Companhia de Bebidas das Americas, or AmBev. Now known as Inbev, the merged company is the world's biggest brewer by volume and the dominant player in Latin America's fast-growing beer market.
USA: Securities and Exchange Commission seeks info on Molson Coors merger
Molson Coors Brewing Co. announced on June 9 that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's Denver office has contacted it seeking information regarding first-quarter results
and material related to the merger of Molson and Coors earlier this year.
Molson Coors, the world's fifth-largest brewer by volume, faces lawsuits by shareholders angry about an unexpected loss in the first quarter since the merger and claiming they were misled about Coors' business before the deal. The brewer said the suits are without merit, according to Reuters.
Molson Coors said it was cooperating with the request from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. An SEC spokesman declined to comment on the inquiry.
Most current shareholders would not worry about the class action lawsuits but the SEC inquiry, which could take about a quarter to complete, is a bigger issue, said Charlie Georgas of Marquis Investment Research. "The concern that current shareholders might have is the SEC involvement," he said. "These class action lawsuits pop up whenever a stock moves down."
The company, whose brands include Coors Light and Molson Canadian, reported the surprise loss in the first quarter after the merger, blaming weak beer sales and charges from the deal. After releasing the disappointing results, the company had to restate its pro forma earnings due to a mistake in accounting for part of its Brazilian business.
Canada: Big Rock sale of Kamloops Brewery
Big Rock Brewery Income Trust announced on June 6 is seeking potential buyers for its Whistler Brewery operations in Kamloops, British Columbia...more info
South America: InBev said it is not a frontrunner in Bavaria deal
InBev, the world's biggest brewer, said on June 10 it was not a frontrunner in the auction for South America's second biggest brewer, Bavaria...more info
Russia: Malt imports dropped sharply in January-March 2005
Russian malt imports dropped sharply in January-March, from 101,000 metric tonnes a year ago...more info
Australia: Barley production is forecast to fall by 13 % in 2005-2006
Barley production is forecast by ABARE to fall by 13 % to 5.62 million metric tonnes in 2005-06 compared to 6.45 million metric tonnes...more info
USA: Hop Industry Economic Viability Initiative from Washington Hop Commission
China has come on strong and is now the world's third-largest hop producer with a 20 % market share of the dominant variety
. Germany leads with 32 % followed by the United States at 30 %.
The roughly 48 hop growers in the Yakima Valley -- down from 264 in the 1960s -- survive because they've diversified into tree fruit or other crops, but they say time is running out.
"If we're going to keep our hop growers in the game, we've got to achieve major reductions in the cost of production," Ann George, administrator of the Washington Hop Commission, said.
To keep growers competitive, the Hop Commission is spearheading the "Hop Industry Economic Viability Initiative," which is entering its second phase with a $1.5 million appropriation from the 2005 Legislature. The program started last year with a $400,000 investment on labor-saving and other technologies.
Growth in the state minimum wage and increases in workers' compensation and unemployment taxes have combined to add $40,000 in costs per year to the average grower, who is already losing $300 to $400 an acre, according to the Washington Hop Commission.