Rivals see local battles with new beer giant but no global war

jueves 15 de octubre de 2015 10:21 GYT

* Beer industry still largely a local business

* Heineken already facing ABI or SAB in Mexico, Nigeria, Vietnam

* Likely asset disposals offer chance for smaller players

By Teis Jensen and Philip Blenkinsop

COPENHAGEN/BRUSSELS, Oct 15 (Reuters) - The prospect of a new competitor that produces one third of an entire industry's output would normally terrify rival companies, but brewing is different.

The very local nature of lagers and ales, and the fact that a price war is seen as unlikely, mean global market leader Anheuser-Busch InBev's imminent takeover of SABMiller , the world's second largest brewer, should not destroy the competition.

"It's been rumoured for a long time, so it's not like we haven't had time to think about it," Laurence Debroux, chief financial officer of world number three Heineken, told a conference at the end of September.

Debroux said rival brewers should not underestimate the strength of the "animal" that AB InBev would become after the takeover, but beer battles are fought market-by-market rather than globally.

"If I look at our three main contributors today, Mexico, Nigeria and Vietnam, those are countries where we were competing with one or other of those two so the fact that they would get together doesn't really change our position on those markets," she said.   Continuación...