June 2021: Heineken NV, the world’s second largest beer maker, has taken control of the country’s largest brewer United Breweries Limited (UBL), cementing its position in a vast market where beer consumption could grow from a low base.
The Dutch brewer bought 3.96 crore shares in UBL to push its holding to 61.5 per cent from 46.5 percent before.
UBL is the maker of the country’s top-selling Kingfisher lager and was owned by businessman Vijay Mallya, who India want to extradite from Britain over $1.4 billion of loans taken out from banks which authorities argue he had no intention of repaying.
According to Heineken, India offers an exciting long-term growth opportunity as per capita beer consumption is low at 2 litres per year. Meanwhile, the company added that the growing population includes a strong emerging middle class which will enable further premiumisation.
“UBL has a proud history dating back more than a century as an influential shaper of the beer industry in India,” said Dolf van den Brink, chairman and CEO of Heineken.