Posted December 2012
Egypt - Government plans tax hike on
As Egypt prepares for a referendum on a
controversial new constitution 15 December 2012, the draft of
which was boycotted by most liberals, secularists and Christians
in the constituent assembly on 30 November, the news that the
government had also drafted a law to raise the sales tax on
several commodities, including alcohol, and services to 11
percent from 10 percent, went largely without comment.
Without quoting sources, the Al-Ahram
newspaper reported in early November 2012 that the sales tax
would rise on goods, such as passenger cars, cigarettes and
tobacco, beer and alcoholic drinks, non-alcoholic beer,
carbonated mineral water, coffee beans and water-resistant
These tax changes are meant to cut a budget
deficit running at about 11 percent of gross domestic product.
Before the draft law on a higher sales tax comes into effect, it
has to be approved by the president or parliament. No date has
been mentioned yet.
It's highly unlikely that there will be a
public outcry against the sales tax hike on beer and alcoholic
drinks as it will only affect tourists (who can afford it) and
small pockets of the Egyptian population that are best advised
not to make a fuss over booze in a Muslim country.
But to liberals, secularists and Christians
it will serve as an indication how far the Islamist government
wants to push its religious agenda.
Iraq – Have a beer but mind where you do
When the United States invaded Iraq, it hoped
to turn the country into a booming economy fuelled by its oil
reserves that are among the largest in the world. Alas, the
fighting never stopped and the U.S. vision remained, well, a
vision. A year ago, American troops left. But the nation’s
leaders are still locked in a political crisis while insurgents
launch attacks. Many wonder: where is Iraq headed?
Ironically, the sale of alcohol and beer may
provide some pointers. Although Iraq is a mainly Muslim nation,
there are several minority groups in Iraq, about 3 percent of
the total population of 31 million people, which are tolerant
towards alcohol. Often members of these groups will be the ones
that run bars or alcohol shops.
The Iraqi media outfit Niqash reports that
"in the 1970s and 1980s Iraq did have alcohol fuelled nightlife
but Saddam Hussein’s religious campaigns ended this to a great
extent in the 1990s. Then, after his regime ended in 2003, there
was a small resurgence in alcohol sales but this too was brought
to end by the religious nature of Iraqi society."
France - Despite protests parliament
approves beer excise bill
All protests were in vain: the French
parliament on 3 December 2012 approved a bill to hike French
beer tax by a massive 160 percent. Despite best efforts by the
French Senate, twice sending the law back to the Parliament with
a modest amendment to raise excise by only 120 percent – the law
was finally passed without further modifications and will come
into effect in January 2013.
The measure will hit all brewers and all
beers, with only a slightly lower increase for some medium-sized
breweries. Equally affected will be brewers exporting to France
as one in three beers consumed in France is imported from
Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.
Netherlands - Mexico, Brazil, Poland and
Nigeria open new wine frontier, says Rabobank
That's some optimistic
extrapolation: if they drink lots of beer, they will eventually
drink wine too. No doubt, Mexico, Brazil, Poland and Nigeria
sport comparatively high beer consumption rates. But to what
extent consumers in these markets can be swayed towards wine
remains to be seen.
With maturing or declining sales in many
traditional markets, wine companies across the globe are
increasingly searching for new growth markets. Emerging markets
are attracting the interest of nearly all major wine
companies. While China and South Korea probably rank as the most
attractive emerging wine markets, Dutch Rabobank, in a recent
report, has identified Mexico, Brazil, Poland and Nigeria as
four hidden gems that have the potential to become important
As always, it's a case of first come first
served, says Rabobank. Early investments to establish a route to
market and build brand awareness hold the key to long term
growth in these markets.
Brazil - Jorge
Lemann ranks 37th on Bloomberg's billionaires index
investor Jorge Paulo Lemann is Brazil's richest man, according
to Bloomberg's recent billionaires index. Bloomberg ranks Mr
Lemann as the world's 37th most wealthy person based on
Bloomberg's 30 November 2012 estimates, which put Mr Lemann's
fortune at USD 18.7 billion.
Jokingly referred to as the "envy index", Bloomberg's index,
which was launched for the first time earlier this year, takes
daily measures of twenty of the world’s wealthiest people based
on market and economic changes and Bloomberg News reporting.
Lemann controls AB-InBev, the world's largest beer manufacturer,
with two billionaire partners, Marcel Herrmann Telles and Carlos
Alberto Sicupira. Through their buyout firm 3G Capital, the trio
owns Burger King, the fast food chain they acquired in 2010.
They also own retailer Lojas Americanas and real estate
developer Sao Carlos.
However, Mr Lemann’s largest asset is his 10 percent stake in
AB-InBev, worth more than USD 14.7 billion, says Bloomberg.
UK - Brits
still prepared to splash out on high-end beers says SABMiller
they are doing it, no one really knows, but even in hard times
British consumers keep on buying high end beers. SABMiller
announced on 22 November 2012 that its UK subsidiary, Miller
Brands UK, has delivered another strong period of lager volume
growth during its first half year ending 30 September 2012.
Against the backdrop of a declining UK beer market (total beer
volumes fell by 4.6 percent to the end of September), Miller
Brands UK grew volumes by 5 percent in the half with the
performance being led by strong sales of Peroni Nastro Azzurro.
groups meanwhile continue to suffer as cash-strapped drinkers
migrate to cheaper supermarket deals. But sales of Peroni on tap
increased by more than 10 percent as those who still frequent
pubs show no qualms about forking out GBP 5.0 (USD 8.0) or more
for a pint.
UK - SABMiller
going strong - except in Australia
it should only occur to hacks now that SABMiller's shares have
surged more than 20 percent to GBP 28.1 so far during 2012,
making the share one of this year's best performers in the FTSE
100. True, beverage stocks have climbed about 26 percent between
1 January and 30 November 2012. But hey, a share price hike is a
share price hike.
releasing its interim results for the March to September period
on 30 November 2012 it has climbed a few pennies higher,
probably buoyed by the fact that in the past six months
SABMiller managed to grow group revenue 11 percent to USD 17.5
billion, and pre-tax profit 12 percent to USD 2.3 billion.
earnings per share increased 15 percent to USD 1.0, with the
interim dividend raised by 14 percent to USD 0.24 per share.
results also showed that Australia will continue to give
SABMiller a headache. Last year, SABMiller paid AUD10.5 billion
(USD 11 billion) for the Foster’s Group. Now SABMiller had to
admit that its beer volumes fell 13 percent in Australia, which
prompted the company to say that its share of the Australian
beer market may not rise until 2014.
UK - Will
micropubs be the next big thing?
the Campaign for Real Ale, says that Britain’s pub closure rate
has increased to 18 per week, with over 450 pubs across the
country having been lost since March 2012. This is an increase
from 12 per week for the September 2011 to March 2012 period.
there is hope: there has been a lot of talk recently about a
burgeoning micropub movement in the UK. Among the four pubs,
which have been shortlisted in CAMRA's 2012 pub of the year
competition, there is one micropub, the Conqueror Alehouse in
the name suggests, micropubs are small, sometimes as small as 4
metres x 4 metres, like the Butcher's Arms in the Kentish town
of Herne, which was opened by Martyn Hillier in 2005 and today
is credited with having been the first micropub. It is really
tiny because in its previous life it used to be the village
butcher's shop. Other micropubs have taken over former
hairdressers or drycleaners. With about ten punters inside, they
feel absolutely crowded - to give you an idea.
Carlsberg said to ponder a sale to exit for good
Carlsberg Group is reportedly looking for a buyer of its 100
percent subsidiary Carlsberg Uzbekistan. According to local
rumour, Carlsberg is conducting negotiations and there are
investors wishing to acquire its assets. This being Uzbekistan,
the sale could drag on for a while to force Carlsberg to accept
a lower price for its brewery with a capacity of one million hl
reported, Carlsberg Uzbekistan started experiencing serious
problems a year ago, when “very important people” became
interested in its earnings. After police raids - so I heard -
its Russian CEO decided to leave the country. In its full year
2011 financials already, Carlsberg booked impairment losses for
its Uzbek subsidiary of DKK 300 million (EUR 40 million).
Things got a lot worse this year. By March, Carlsberg had run
out of raw materials and was forced to cease production. It sent
its staff on leave until September, with only a few people
remaining to maintain the brewery.
Hopefully, Carlsberg has a stash of the local currency left to
pay its staff for looking after the brewery or valuable bits and
pieces might start wandering off.
Another rumour had it that Carlsberg was considering packing up
its brewery to send it to neighbouring Turkmenistan - a mainly
Muslim country of 5 million people.
Kirin in bid to buy F&N's food and beverage unit
Now that Heineken has its acquisition of Asia Pacific Breweries
all sewn up, a bidding war for the rest of Fraser & Neave (F&N)
is gathering pace. In November the Singaporean conglomerate
received a rival offer from a group led by Overseas Union
Enterprise Ltd (OUE), which offered USD 10.7 billion for F&N's
property and beverages conglomerate.
OUE group offered SGD 9.08 (USD 7.44) a share, topping the SGD
8.88 (USD 7.27) offer by Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, the owner of
ThaiBev and brewer of Chang beer.
OUE has enlisted Kirin, Japan’s largest drinks maker and F&N’s
second-largest shareholder, in its bid. OUE, which is a
Singapore-based property company, would get the company’s
property business while Kirin would take the food and beverage
Japanese brewer, Asia’s biggest beverage maker, will is prepared
to pay SGD 2.7 billion (USD 2.2 billion), for F&N’s food and
beverage business, according to OUE’s statement.
2009 december ·