Compañía Cervecerías Unidas (CCU), one of the leading producers of beverages in South America part-owned by Heineken announced last week the launch of the second stage of its investment plan that the company launched in 2020.
The company that produces brands in Argentina such as Imperial, Schneider, Heineken, Amstel Lager, Miller, Salta Cautiva, Grolsch, Warsteiner and Sidra 1888 among others, plans to invest more than ARS 2.7 billion (USD 23 million) in increasing the production and logistics capacity for national and international beers at Cervecería de Luján, in the Province of Buenos Aires. The beer is intended to supply the local market.
This investment announcement is added to the 4.5 billion pesos (USD 57 million at that time) announced in October 2020 to increase manufacturing and packaging capacity, and implies the indirect employment generation of more than 180 average monthly workers, for one year. The improvements in the Luján brewery will also allow the development of innovations.
Since 2008, CCU Argentina has increased the number of jobs at its brewery in Luján by 100%, transforming it into the production center for international and national brands. For the project, CCU chose technology with the highest environmental standards in line with the company's ambitious 2030 Goals for the Planet.
The stages of the project, between 2020 and 2022, include new works for the areas of cooking, filtration, fermentation, packaging, service/water treatment plants, civil works, and logistics capacity.
Julio Freyre, General Manager of CCU Argentina, commented: “CCU has a vision of growth in Argentina. With this investment, we aim to strengthen our production and logistics capacity to reach millions of Argentines with our brands, and continue advancing towards our mission: to share experiences with our consumers on all occasions of consumption. We are optimistic and we believe that we must bet on the permanent development of the productive matrix of our country”.
CCU Argentina maintains a solid position as the second largest competitor in the beer market after AB InBev, it is the leader in the cider market and with significant growth in the wine market. It currently has more than 1,800 workers directly, and is supplied by a network of more than 2,500 suppliers, 95% of which are SMEs, generating 20,000 indirect jobs in the value chain.
In 2018, in order to comply with the requirements set by Argentina’s authorities following AB InBev’s takeover of SABMiller in 2016, the world’s largest brewer sold seven of its brands in Argentina to CCU.After the deal received the blessing of the Argentine National Competition Defense Commission the company bought the brands Isenbeck, Dioasa, Norte, Iguana and Baltica, as well as the licenses to Warsteiner and Grolsch. In exchange CCU had to cede rights to the Budweiser brand in Argentina to AB Inbev and received USD 400 million over three years. (inside.beer, 14.3.2018)
Since 2003, CCU Argentina’s mother company CCU S.A. is part-owned by Heineken when the Dutch brewer acquired Finance Holding International, owner of 50% of Inversiones y Rentas S.A. (IRSA), controlling shareholder of CCU S.A. After the purchase the company started to produce and market Heineken beer in Chile and Argentina.
IRSA is a Chilean company owned by the local business conglomerate Quiñenco and Heineken Chile. Last year, IRSA increased its stake in CCU from 61.6% to 65.87% after making a public offer to buy up to 16,390,172 ordinary shares for a total of USD 144.4 million.
In addition to the investment in its own brewery, CCU Argentina announced last week to acquire "a significant minority interest" in Aguas Danone de Argentina, a local producer of water and non-alcoholic beverages owned by French multinational food-products corporation Danone S.A. at an undisclosed sum. The move is intended “to enter a new beverage category in the country and jointly promote the development of brands,” according to CCU. (inside.beer, 4.5.2022)