Budweiser maker InBev prices IPO to raise US$5 billion

Hong Kong (AFP) –


Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's biggest brewer and maker of Budweiser, on Tuesday priced the Hong Kong initial public offering for its Asia unit at the lower end of its market range, raising US$5 billion.

While the figure is half as much as InBev had hoped to raise for Budweiser Brewing Company APAC Ltd when it first floated the plan in July, it still represents the world's second-biggest IPO this year.

The Belgium-listed company said it will offload 1.45 billion Budweiser shares for HK$27 apiece, having last week set a range of HK$27-HK$30.

It also has an overallotment option that could see the IPO rise to $5.75 billion and leave it with around 87 percent of Budweiser.

The world's biggest IPO so far this year garnered $8.1 billion for Uber in May.

InBev pulled its initial plan to raise cash after failing to muster enough support from institutional funds to meet the company's expectations.

Soon afterwards, it sold its assets in Australia -- including the Foster's beer brand -- to Japanese mega-brewer Asahi for $11.3 billion, helping pare back some of its more than $100 billion debts, much of it stemming from its blockbuster 2016 acquisition of SABMiller.

The new offering has the backing of Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, with a commitment of $1 billion, the company said.

The listing will also provide a much-needed boost to the Hong Kong stock exchange, which has been hit by months of sometimes violent protests in the city as well as the China-US trade war.

The shares are expected to begin trading on September 30.

-- Bloomberg News contributed to this story --