Carlsberg has bought the remaining 25% of shares in Cambrew, one of the largest brewers in the Kingdom of Cambodia. The news of the full ownership was revealed today when Carlsberg presented its third quarter sales.
The Danish brewer did not disclose the price of the stake, but Heine Dalsgaard, Carlsberg’s chief financial officer, affirmed in a conference call that the price was in line with what Carlsberg paid last August when it increased its stake from 50% to 75% (inside.beer, 14.8.2018). According to Carlsberg’s annual report the company paid at that time 1.35 billion Danish crowns (USD 201.85 million) for 25% of Cambrew’s shares.
“The business environment in Cambodia is a substantial task and it requires significant market investments, time and patience,” Dalsgaard said, referring to a recent relaunch of Cambrew’s largest beer brand Angkor Premium Beer. In August 2019, one year after Carlsberg took over management, the Danish brewer totally revamped the brand, which was first brewed in 1992. According to Carlsberg, the goal is to become the industry leader in a highly competitive market, where other international players like Heineken are also present.
In March 2017, Cambodia Brewery, a fully owned subsidiary of Heineken Asia-Pacific, more than tripled its existing capacity to 3 million hectoliters (inside.beer, 11.3.2017). The capacity is enough to satisfy the need of nearly half of the population in the fast-growing Asian country, Heineken said at that time.
The changes in Angkor Premium Beer include several improvements to the packaging and recipe to create a “fine-tuned liquid that both stays true to its original Khmer taste and lives up to the more demanding taste buds of today’s Cambodian consumers,” according to Cambrew managing director Michael Norgaard Jensen. In addition, the company has kicked-off its ‘My Country, My Beer’ marketing campaign for the brand in Cambodia.
“The new Angkor Premium Beer, in 330ml and 640ml bottles and 330ml cans as well as on taps, is expected to be available in all our outlets across Cambodia by the end of this year,” Jensen said in August.
“Our brewery in Sihanoukville, which is Cambodia’s most experienced and Southeast Asia’s largest brewery, has a designed annual production capacity of 12 million hectolitres. We still have substantial production capacities to tap into,” the manager explained. In order to increase sales, Cambrew also plans to export its beer to neighboring countries.
Angkor Brewery is located at the historical site of Cambodia’s first brewery named Samdech Euv Brewery in Sihanouk By 1965, the brewery was fully operational and was officially inaugurated by His Royal Highness Prince Norodom Sihanouk. Bayon beer was the first beer brand produced by the brewery.
The brewery had to close after a civil war broke out in 1975. Production was halted and the whole brewery’s infrastructure was destroyed. In 1991 Cambrew Ltd (a Malaysian company) assumed control of the brewery and after nine months of refurbishment, the brewery recommenced production in 1992. The same year, Cambrew entered into a joint venture with PepsiCo for bottling and distribution of soft drinks in Cambodia and Angkor Premium Beer, the breweries main brand today, was launched.
In 2005 the Carlsberg Group purchased a 50% holding in the brewery but management remained with the former owners. This changed when Carlsberg acquired another 25% in the company last year. Now, Carlsberg has assumed for control of the company with the purchase of the remaining 25%.
Cambrew’s products include Angkor Premium, Angkor Extra Stout, Klang Smooth Beer and Black Panther, as well as international premium brands such as Carlsberg, Tuborg, Kronenbourg 1664, and Somersby. Licence brands brewed at the Sihanoukville facilityare Guinness, Asahi, and PepsiCo.