Japan’s Asahi Group Holdings announced not to make any major investments until it has halved its debt. The group spent AUD 16.0 billion (USD 11.3 bn) to buy Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) from Australia which was announced in 2019. (inside.beer, 19.7.2019) As a result Asahi had to sign an agreement with Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp for a 1.185 trillion yen (USD 11 billion) loan. (inside.beer, 25.5.2020)
“Basically, we are not considering any large-scale acquisitions,” Asahi’s new CEO Atsushi Katsuki told Reuters. The brewer aims to reduce its debt to EBITDA ratio from six times at the end of December to three times.
Due to the measures to contain the corona virus the debt relief process could take longer than Asahi initially anticipated. The fact that the company is more dependent on keg sales than its competitors reinforced the negative effects of temporary closures of pubs and restaurants during the pandemic.