The Carlsberg Group announced today to start its first own production in North America by entering into a definitive agreement with Waterloo Brewing Ltd. to acquire all the issued and outstanding common shares of the regional brewer from Ontario. The cash consideration for the transaction will be CAD 4.00 per share or a total equity value of approximately CAD 144 million (USD 106m) in aggregate including options.
Carlsberg said it hopes to strengthen the Carlsberg Group’s market position in Canada with local production and Waterloo Brewing’s brands, and to deliver significant supply chain and revenue synergies. Carlsberg’s international beer and cider portfolio complements Waterloo Brewing’s portfolio of local beers and ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages.
In addition, Waterloo Brewing’s production facility in Kitchener, Ontario, which already serves as a contract brewer for various brands, will produce some of the Carlsberg Group’s brands, including Somersby cider, which has been produced at Waterloo Brewing since 2020.
The timing of the transaction seems perfect for Carlsberg, because the market valuation of Waterloo has more than halved over the past 18 months. Waterloo’s TSX-listed stock has decreased from a mid-2021 high of CAD 7.88 per share to CAD 3.35 per share as of Wednesday’s market close.
Despite being one of the largest brewing groups in the world, Carlsberg has so far no own production facility on the American continent. Activities of the group center on Western, Central and Eastern Europe and Asia.
The transaction is expected to close early in the first half of 2023, subject to approval by Waterloo Brewing’s security holders and the satisfaction or waiver of other customary closing conditions. A special meeting of Waterloo Brewing security holders is planned to take place in February 2023.
Carlsberg Group CEO Cees ’t Hart says: “One of the priorities of our SAIL’27 strategy is to grow our business in attractive markets where we are small today, such as Canada. The acquisition of Waterloo Brewing significantly improves our growth prospects in the Canadian market.”
Waterloo Brewing President and CEO George Croft says: “We’ve enjoyed a close relationship with Carlsberg and are excited about becoming part of one of the largest brewing companies in the world. Waterloo Brewing will be a great fit with Carlsberg’s strong, purpose-driven culture, and our Board of Directors is confident that joining Carlsberg is the best long-term solution for our employees, partners, customers, consumers and community.”
Managing Director of Carlsberg Canada Anders Rud Jørgensen says: “This exciting opportunity will scale our business in Canada. The brand portfolios are complementary. Local sourcing will secure long-term robustness of supply, and increase commercial flexibility and speed to market for innovations, step-changing the way we operate. Waterloo Brewing’s excellent portfolio of long-standing co-packing relationships will benefit from these combined operations.”
It is already the second time that a Danish brewer has agreed to purchase a Canadian beer producer this year. In July, Denmark’s second largest supplier of beer and soft drinks, Royal Unibrew, bought Toronto-based Amsterdam Brewery in a deal valued at CAD 44-million (USD 34m). (inside.beer, 15.7.2022)
Waterloo Brewing is Ontario's largest Canadian-owned brewery. The Company is a regional brewer and is officially certified under the Global Food Safety Standard, one of the highest and most internationally recognized standards for safe food production.
Founded in 1984 by founder Jim Brickman as Brick Brewing Co., Waterloo Brewing Ltd. was the first craft brewery to start up in Ontario and is credited with pioneering the present-day craft brewing renaissance in Canada. In 2019, the company changed its name to Waterloo Brewing in order to align with the Waterloo brand names under which it has been brewing and marketing craft beers since its beginnings. (inside.beer, 12.7.2019) In addition the company is brewing and marketing its popular Laker brand. In 2011, Waterloo Brewing purchased the Canadian rights to Seagram Coolers, and in 2015 secured the exclusive Canadian rights to both LandShark and Margaritaville.
Another important part of Waterloo Brewing business activities is to provide an extensive array of contract manufacturing services in beer, coolers and ciders.