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Asahi to force sale of remaining 4% in Charlie’s

Asahi to force sale of remaining 4% in Charlie’s

By Paul McBeth

Aug. 19 (BusinessDesk) – Japanese brewer Asahi Group will force the compulsory acquisition of just 4% of local juice-maker Charlie’s Group.

The company, which yesterday added New Zealand RTD maker Independent Liquor to its stable for some $1.5 billion, hit the 90% mark required to force a full takeover of Charlie’s last week, and will mop up the rest to complete its acquisition.

Asahi offered 44 cents a share, valuing the company at $129 million, a premium of 57% to the juice-maker’s price prior to the bid’s announcement.

The Wall Street Journal last month reported that Asahi is making use of a US$4.9 billion war chest to make acquisitions overseas as it builds scale. At home in Japan, the weak economy and aging population is capping growth in the food and beverages sector, the WSJ said.

Last week it gained antitrust approval to buy the juice and mineral water business of Australia’s P&N Beverages for about US$200 million and last month agreed to acquire Malaysia’s PepsiCo bottler Permanis Sdn for US$274 million.

It acquired the Schweppes Australia soft drinks business in 2009.

Asahi aims to “join the ranks of the top global food companies in scale” by 2015, according to a statement. It wants to increase overseas sales to between 20% and 30% of its total revenue.

Asahi’s shares fell 2.9% to 1,570 yen in trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, and have increased 1% this year. Asahi’s market capitalisation is US$10.01 billion.


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