SINGAPORE (Apr 15): Thai Beverage has spent the past few years on an $8 billion acquisition spree, as it expanded beyond its home market and into other Southeast Asian markets. It bought a 53.59% stake in Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp (Sabeco), Vietnam’s largest brewery company, and snapped up a 75% stake in the Grand Royal Group, Myanmar’s largest whiskey player. Besides drinks, it is venturing into fast food: It bought the franchise rights to run more than 250 KFC outlets in Thailand.
However, amassing these assets have actually decreased ThaiBev’s net debt to shareholders’ equity to 1.21 times as at Dec 31, 2018 from 1.45 times as at Dec 31, 2017. But this still makes ThaiBev the fifth most heavily geared beverage company in the world.
ThaiBev’s net gearing level is higher than sixth-placed Asahi Group Holdings’ 0.84 times and seventh-placed Heineken’s 0.78 times, but just below fourth-placed Anheuser-Busch InBev’s 1.43 times. AB InBev and Heineken are widely known to be the world’s largest and second-largest brewery companies by volume. Asahi is the seventh-largest brewery company. ThaiBev, in comparison, is not among the world’s 10 largest brewery companies.