India: Kingfisher market shares drops with the advent of international beer brands

United Breweries (UB), beer market leader in India and maker of the signature Kingfisher beer, has lost 6% market share by volume in the last 6 years down to 44.1% in 2016, according to data from market researcher Euromonitor. In the same time international brewing groups like AB InBev and Carlsberg could increase its market share to 24.6% and 16.9% respectively.

The steepest decline among the top beer brands in India with a loss of 4.3% market share experienced UB’s Kingfisher band, which is still the largest beer brand in India, meanwhile Carlsberg’s Tuborg brand nearly quintupled its market share to 11.1% and is now India’s second-largest beer by volume in India. The namesake Carlsberg brand has also doubled its market share since 2011.

United Breweries has recently launched several new beers, which are directly targeted against competing brands mainly from Carlsberg: Kingfisher Storm is trying to attract drinkers of Carlsberg’s successful strong beer brand Carlsberg Elephant as well as those of the recently launched Tuborg Strong. (, 27.04.2017)

United Breweries is suffering from the unclear situation of its second biggest shareholder and former chairman Vijay Mallya, who has fled India nearly two years ago to escape creditors and Indian tax authorities after his Kingfisher Airlines was grounded amid mounting debt in 2012. He is accused of willfully defaulting a sum of about $1.4 billion in debt for the airline.

More than a dozen Indian banks also claim Mallya has breached Indian court orders by dividing some of his assets up between his three children to avoid his creditors being able to enforce against him.

Mallya holds 32.45% in UB, nearly half of which is pledged with banks as his personal surety for loans taken to run the defunct Kingfisher Airlines. Heineken became biggest shareholder in UB in 2008 through its takeover of Scottish & Newcastle. (, 17.11.2017)

Since the accusation against Mallya became known the Dutch brewer had many times unsuccessfully tried to remove Mallya from the board of the brewery. ( , 27.1.2017) Only four month ago the board officially informed that it “has authorised filing of requisite forms/intimations with the Registrar of Companies and other authorities notifying Vijay Mallya's cessation from holding position of director in the company.” At the end of October it became known that UB has nominated Chugh Yoginder Pal, one of the directors and on the board of UBL since April 29, 2005, as acting chairman. 

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