What's on the M&A cards for San Miguel Brewery ?
- July 18, 2014
||press speculation after company interview, July 2014
||San Miguel Brewery Inc (Philippines), largest brewing group in SE Asia
||candidates include Kirin Holdings
||San Miguel Corporation (Philippines), Asiaâs largest publicly-listed food, beverage and packaging company
||continued global expansion in beverages
||raising funds for acquisition in new strategic sector
||Kirin already owns 48% of San Miguel Brewery
An undisclosed bidder has apparently offered a huge sum for San Miguel Corp's majority stake in San Miguel Brewery. The 'elephant in the room' is surely that the bidder in question is Kirin Holdings. We examine the potential valuation of that deal, and the possible add-on consolidation of Mahou San Miguel in Spain.
In spite of SMB's strong growth and profitability (see profile), in our view the US$ 6 bln price tag, quoted by SMC's president, sounds more like the brewer's enterprise value than a bid for 51% of its equity (see valuation).
With Kirin already owning 48% of SMB since 2009, its hard to imagine any global brewing major acquiring SMC's 51% and have to live with Kirin as its bed-fellow. That eliminates the scenario of a bidding war.
Of course the majors do sometimes team-up with each other or with regional players; examples include Molson Coors or SABMiller - Anadolu Efes. However Kirin's M&A history suggests there's little chance of such a construction with SMB.
In 2009, Kirin bought Lion Nathan in Australia; in 2011 the group bought Schincariol in Brazil. In both cases, Kirin ended up with 100% of the shares; also in both cases it started with smaller stakes (50,5% and 46% respectively).
This pattern is likely to continue with SMB; especially given that the 2009 share purchase agreement, under which Kirin bought an initial 43% stake in SMB, probably contains clauses governing a potential buy-out of SMC's majority stake.
On the valuation side, Kirin may be anxious to avoid the charges of overpaying, that applied when it acquired control of Schincariol of Brazil in 2011 at an enterprise value of x16 EBITDA. In that context a ratio closer to the beer sector M&A average, in the low teens, is more realistic for SMB.
According to a recent interview with SMC's president, the sale of SMB is a 'tied deal' with the upcoming acquisition by that group of a US$ 10 bln turnover regional company (presumably in either energy, oil & gas or infrastructure).
For reasons of timing and relative valuation psychology, SMC may opt for a bilateral settlement with Kirin over SMB, to avoid an unpredictable competitive tender process. That would also preclude an inflation of SMB's valuation.
Another piece in this puzzle is the status of SMB's relations with its Spanish counterpart, Mahou San Miguel, brought under the spotlight by a co-operation agreement signed by the two 'independent and parallel' groups in May 2014.
The objective behind the agreement is to co-ordinate efforts to position 'San Miguel' as an iconic brand worldwide. It seems moreover to be necessitated by the increasing threat posed to SMB by MSM beyond Europe.
Hitherto limited to Spain and European export markets, MSM made its first production investment outside Spain by establishing Arian Breweries in India in 2012. Glenboden also understands through our M&A network, that MSM has been exploring similar investments in Africa.
Does the above threat also present a bolt-on M&A opportunity to Kirin as potential 100% owner of SMB ?
Although MSM is a privately -held company, it has been hit hard by declining beer consumption in its home market of Spain; that provides rationale for MSM's consolidation into a geographically more broadly -based group.