Heineken N.V. today announced it is entering the Peruvian beer market through the acquisition of local beer brand Tres Cruces and the incorporation of its local operating team in Lima. Seller is AJE Group, a leader in numerous non-alcoholic beverages in Peru.
Peru is one of the largest beer markets in South America with around 14 million hectoliters of annual beer sales and the largest market in the region where Heineken did not yet have operations. Since the purchase of SABMiller in 2016, AB InBev has a quasi-monopoly in the beer market and controls about 95% of the market through its indirectly owned subsidiary AB InBev Backus (formerly Backus & Johnston).
In August 2019, AJE that was founded in 1988 by the Añaños brothers, decided to put Tres Cruces up for sale and entered into negotiations with one local and two foreign companies, including Heineken. In April 2020, Heineken and AJE signed a memorandum of understanding for a transfer of ownership for approximately USD 50 million according to a report in La República from May 2020. Today's announcement now signals the successful conclusion of the negotiations. However, financial terms were not disclosed.
The entry into the Peruvian market announced today by Heineken follows similar steps in Latin America in the last few years. In 2018 Heineken entered the beer market in Belize by buying Belize Brewing Company, beer market leader in Belize (inside.beer, 11.5.2018). One year later Heineken acquired a majority stake in Biela y Bebidas del Ecuador, thus entering the beer market in Ecuador (inside.beer, 2.5.2019).
Heineken said, it aims to build a diverse portfolio in Peru consisting of local beer brands, complemented with its range of leading international brands. To support its strategy, Heineken is entering into a strategic partnership with AJE which has a strong route-to-market and distribution network across Peru. The premium beer segment is significantly underdeveloped, representing less than 4% of the total market. Peru has a population of 32 million and has solid macroeconomic fundamentals, attractive development of consumer demographics and a stable local currency.
“We continue to expand our footprint in South America entering a strategic market such as Peru,” said Marc Busain, president Americas at Heineken. “Peru has favorable demographics and is a promising beer market. Our partnership with AJE will be instrumental to grow our business in the country. We are pleased that our investment will significantly expand the beer category in Peru. “
“We are delighted to team up with Heineken in the beer market in Peru,” said Àngel Añaños, CEO and president of the board of AJE. “We believe AJE’s local knowledge and strong access to the market in combination with Heineken’s leading brand portfolio and commercial capabilities will benefit customers and consumers in the country. Our partnership will bring more choices into the Peruvian beer market.”