Picture: 123RF
Picture: 123RF

Hong Kong/Mumbai — Carlsberg is planning a local initial public offering (IPO) of its Indian business, people with knowledge of the matter said, as it seeks to tap the growing middle class’s increasing thirst for foreign beer.

The Danish brewer is interviewing potential arrangers for the share sale over the next few weeks, according to the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private.

India’s beer market is expected to grow to $10.7bn by 2020, up from $8.6bn last year, according to Euromonitor International. Carlsberg ranks third in the country with a 13.7% market share, the research firm’s data show. It trails Kingfisher owner United Breweries, which has 39.2%, and Budweiser parent Anheuser-Busch InBev, which has 23.3%.

Carlsberg may be attracted by the high valuations in the Indian stock market, where United Breweries trades at about 73 times this year’s estimated earnings, according to Bloomberg data. United Breweries’s shares have risen 62% over the past 12 months.

Any deal will add to the $3.9bn raised through IPOs in India this year, up from $2.2bn during the same period in 2017, Bloomberg data show.

Details of Carlsberg’s potential India offering haven’t been set yet, the people said. A representative for Carlsberg declined to comment.

Carlsberg started operations in 2007 in India, where it sells five types of beer under the Carlsberg and Tuborg brands, according to its website. It finalized the building of its eighth brewery in the country, located in the southwestern state of Karnataka, at the end of last year, according to its annual report.

The company’s India sales volume rose more than 30% in the quarter ended March from a year earlier, rebounding from a dip caused by the government’s ban on alcohol sales along highways, Chief Financial Officer Heine Dalsgaard said on an analyst call last month. Carlsberg’s Tuborg lagers accounted for 81% of its net revenue in India last year, according to its 2017 annual report.