Heineken obtains full operational control of Kingfisher owner

DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP via Getty Images/File Photo

Heineken has gained full operational control of United Breweries Limited (UBL) in India following the annual general meeting of the Kingfisher lager owner on 29 July.

The change of ownership follows Heineken acquiring an additional 39.6 million shares in UBL, taking its shareholding in the brewer from 46.5 per cent to 61.5 per cent, for £560 million in June.

“UBL has a proud history dating back more than a century as an influential shaper of the beer industry in India. It built its position as the undisputed market leader in India with a strong network of breweries across the country and a fantastic portfolio led by its iconic Kingfisher brand family, complemented more recently by a strong Heineken international brand portfolio,” Dolf van den Brink, Heineken chief executive, said.

“We are honoured to build on this legacy and look forward to working with our colleagues at UBL to continue to win in the market, delight consumers and customers and unlock future growth.”

Heineken said ​​​​​​India offers an exciting long-term growth opportunity for the company as per capita beer consumption is low at 2 litres per annum, while its growing population of nearly 1.4 billion people includes a strong emerging middle class, enabling further premiumisation.

UBL will be a top Heienken operating company and Kingfisher a top 5 global brand. The Dutch multinational expects the consolidation of UBL will have a small accretive effect on EPS and a dilutive effect on operating profit margin.

The sale of UBL shares was led by a debt recovery tribunal after the shares of the company was attached by India’s financial investigation agency Enforcement Directorate, as part of the measures taken against fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya.

Mallya, who has lost an extradition battle in the UK, is facing a money laundering case against the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines Ltd. He is accused of loan defaults of nearly £1 billion to a consortium of Indian banks.

Kingfisher is largest beer brand in India, and has a presence in over 50 countries including the UK.