Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (BUD) launched the second attempt to float its Asia business on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange Tuesday, telling investors it plans to raise up to $6.6 billion.
Anheuser-Busch said it will offer 1.3 billion shares of Budweiser Brewing APAC at between HK$27 and HK$30 each, a level that would value its Asia region business at as much as $50 billion. That level, however, marks a 20% discount to the range it targeted in July, when it pulled the IPO in favor of a sale of its Australian division for around $11.3 billion.
AB InBev shares were marked 1.44% higher in Brussels Tuesday to change hands at €88.23 each in a move that extends its year-to-date gain to around 52%.
AB InBev had aimed to sell around 1.6 million shares of Budweiser Brewing APAC at between HK$40 and HK$47 each last spring, a level that would value its Asia region business at as much as $64 billion. The sale itself would have raised between $8.3 billion and $9.8 billion and outpaced the $8.1 billion raised by Uber Technologies (UBER) earlier this year as the world's biggest IPO of 2019.
Anheuser-Busch raised the idea of listing its minority stake in Budweiser Brewing APAC earlier this year, telling investors on a conference call following its first quarter earnings that the move would help lower the group's debt load.
"Proceeding with the listing will depend on a number of factors, including but not limited to valuation and prevailing market conditions," CEO Carlos Brito said on February 28. "The merits of these initiatives are based upon the creation of an APAC champion in the consumer goods space. Furthermore, our superior portfolio brands and leadership position in the beer industry provide them attractive platform for potential M&A in the region."
Anheuser-Busch InBev said earlier this year that it sees revenue growth ahead of inflation in 2019 as it attempts to drive customers to higher-priced, premium beers while at the same time cutting costs and reducing its $102.5 billion debt load. Ab InBev said it wants to see the ratio of net debt to operating earnings fall below 4 by next year. It was pegged at 4.6 at the end of 2018.