APB likely to acquire brewery in Rajasthan

Written by Reghu Balakrishnan | Mumbai, Feb 28 | Updated: Feb 29 2008, 05:10am hrs
Asia Pacific Breweries (APB), manufacturers of the renowned Tiger beer brand, is likely to acquire a brewery in Rajasthan soon, as part of expanding its foothold into north India. The company, which wants to establish its presence in Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab, is learnt to have started talks with a number of smaller brewing companies. The acquisition is expected to be in the range of Rs 80-100 crore.

APB operates through two joint ventures in India. APB (Aurangabad) Limited, which brews Cannon 10000 and Arlem, is a 76:24 joint venture with Vijay Chougle, while APB-Pearl Limited is a 67:33 JV with CK Jaipuria. The breweries in Aurangabad and Hyderabad have a capacity of 5 and 6 million cases per annum respectively. In an interaction with FE , Vivek Chhabra, regional director, south Asia & director, group business development, APB Limited, said, We are keen to launch our corporate brands like Tiger, Barons strong brew, Anchor and ABC extra stout, across the country in a couple of months. We would like to have a strong presence in north, especially, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab. Though no brewery licences are allowed in Rajasthan as of now, APB is keen on acquiring an existing brewery in Rajasthan. By 2010, we would have a capacity of 20 million cases of beer per annum. However, he did not rule out plans for setting up a greenfield brewery in north India.

Meanwhile, the future of APBs Indian operations may be under a cloud if UB resists Dutch brewer Heinekens plans to run the parallel businesses in UB and APB as well.

Recently, Heineken and Carlsberg are learnt to be in the final lap to acquire the UK brewer, Scottish & Newcastle, and Heineken is learnt to be keen to acquire 38% of S&Ns stake in UB. In APB, Heineken hold 42% while Singapore firm, Fraser & Neave holds 38%. Though it is not clear who will buy S&N, Heinekens move is expected to create trouble for APBs Indian business.