Picture: REUTERS/FRANÇOIS LENOIR
Picture: REUTERS/FRANÇOIS LENOIR

Hong Kong — The company that makes Stella Artois and Budweiser hopes to raise almost $10bn by listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange, marking what would be the world’s biggest initial public offering (IPO) this year, a report said on Tuesday.

Attracting the new listing will be considered a coup for the city, which has been battling to win over big-name firms, and comes as Chinese online retail titan Alibaba considers filing there.

Budweiser Brewing Company APAC — the Asia-Pacific arm of Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) Group — will offer 1.63-million shares at HK$40-HK$47, which would raise HK$76.45bn ($9.8bn), Bloomberg News said.

The cash would allow Budweiser to create a “local champion” and help AB InBev reduce its debt, according to CFO Felipe Dutra.

The firm is looking to pivot to Asia as the beer business struggles in other parts of the world, while it is a major player in China’s premium market, buying up local craft brands to reach a younger generation, the report said.

Belgian-Brazilian giant AB InBev, the world’s biggest brewer, which bought its competitor SABMiller in 2016, saw its profits decline 14.7% to $6.793bn last year but forecast strong growth this year.

If it reaches its potential, the IPO would be the biggest in the world since Uber’s listing earlier in 2019 earned $8.1bn.

However, that could easily be surpassed if Alibaba’s plans go ahead, with the tech firm reportedly looking to raise an eye-watering $20bn, which would be the biggest in Hong Kong since insurance firm AIA raised $20.5bn.

Alibaba raised $25bn when it listed in New York five years ago, making it the world’s biggest IPO.

AFP