AB InBev to exit JV with Ravi Jaipuria-controlled RJ Corp

Beer maker Anheuser-Busch InBev, is exiting its JV with RJ Corp, one of the largest bottlers and distributors of Pepsi in India which is also a franchisee partner for other QSR chains, according to a statement. The deal is expected to close by March this year.

Through this divestment, the global firm is looking to expand its Indian footprint through its wholly-owned subsidiary Crown Beers India Ltd.

Although the deal value was not disclose, AB InBev will pay anywhere between $100-150 million to RJ Corp, as per a Mint report citing sources.

“We see long-term opportunities to grow our business in India,” said Michel Doukeris, AB InBev zone president for Asia-Pacific, in the media statement.

“The strong foundation provided by our Indian JV with RJ Corp. will allow us to now plan on further growing our premium brands in India and giving consumers increased access to our portfolio of great beers,” Doukeris further added.

In 2007, both the firms formed a 51:49 JV and as per the agreement, RJ Corp could bottle and distribute AB InBev's popular beer brand Budweiser, apart from importing and marketing beer brands such as Stella Artois, Leffe and Hoegaarden.

“We wish to focus on our existing business for now, i.e., soft drinks and food,” said Chris White, president and group chief executive officer at RJ Corp.

He also informed, the split was a mutual decision. In November last year, PepsiCo India divested its stake in four bottling plants in the North to RJ Corp for an undisclosed sum.

AB InBev which operates through four segments- domestic beer, international beer, packaging and entertainment, has more than 200 beer brands in its portfolio including Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois and international brands like Beck’s, Leffe, and Hoegaarden.

Founded in 1991, Gurgaon-based RJ Corp (formerly RKJ Group) provides soft drinks and mineral water. It operates fast food restaurants, ice creams, dairy products, education, breweries, healthcare and hospitality. 

Recently, RJ Corp acquired online healthcare startup iClinic Healthcare Pvt Ltd, for an undisclosed amount.

Prior to that, VCCircle reported, ICICI Bank's private equity arm ICICI Venture picked a stake in RJ Corp Ltd.

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