India/Japan: Kirin in talks to increase stake in Bira brewery

Following its acquisition of less than 10 percent for USD 30 million in India’s most successful craft brewer B9 Beverages last year (, 5.1.2021), Japanese brewer Kirin is said to invest another USD 70 million in the New Delhi-based company, raising its stake to about 15%. As Reuters reported today, negotiations between the two parties are in the final stage. Japan-based financial company Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group is also taking part in the financing round with a USD 15 million investment, according to the sources cited by Reuters.

B9 Beverages is producer of the very popular Bira 91 brand (the number stands for India’s country code). The product was launched in early 2015 by Ankur Jain, a Bachelor's from Illinois Institute of Technology who imported foreign beer to India at that time. After an initial phase where the beer was brewed in Belgium and exported to India he transferred production to India. In order to finance the venture, Jain raised over USD 130 million across several funding rounds from financial investors U.S.-based Sequoia Capital and Belgium-based Sofina (, 10.5.2018). This gave Sequoia Capital a stake of about 45% in B9 while Jain and his family remained with about 30% of the shares. In order to secure the much needed funds during the COVID 19 pandemic, the company raised in 2020 USD another USD 35 million from the two anchor investors with participation from Mumbai-based consumer-focused venture capital fund, Sixth Sense Ventures, South Korean private equity fund Neoplux, and certain family offices. Last year he allied with Kirin for additional USD 30 million in funds and for “exploring business synergies.”

The now envisaged investment will value the company USD 450 million according to the sources cited by Reuters. Even though Bira's net sales revenue in the quarter to June 2022 was 132% higher at USD 20 million, it reported an operating loss of USD 4 million in the period, according to an internal investor presentation seen by Reuters.

The quarter was the "highest ever" in terms of beer volume and revenue for Bira was "more than 2 times over Pre-COVID", the presentation noted. Bira operates five breweries in India, and is, according to its own statements, available in 500 towns and cities in 15 countries.

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