Heineken to reopen closed pubs

Brewing group Heineken is investing £39m to refurbish and reopen pubs in its ‘Star Pubs’ chain.

As part of the investment, 62 sites that were closed in recent years will be reopened. By the end of the year, the group will have reopened 156 long-term closed locals since the start of 2023 — reducing the number of closed pubs in its estate to pre-pandemic levels.

Another 612 pubs — a quarter of Heineken UK’s total estate of 2,400 — are in line for improvement, with 94 of these set for makeovers costing on average £200,000.

With more people working from home or looking to save on travel, major refurbishments will focus on modernising pubs in suburban areas to broaden their use and appeal, giving customers additional reasons to visit. Distinct zones — delineated with dividing screens and changes to lighting, sound systems and furniture styles — aim to enable different groups to simultaneously enjoy a variety of activities such as watching sports and dining without disturbing each other.

“People are looking for maximum value from visits to their local,” said Lawson Mountstevens, managing director of Star Pubs. “They want great surroundings and food and drink as well as activities that give them an extra reason to go out, such as sports screenings and entertainment. Creating fantastic locals that can accommodate a range of occasions meets this need and helps pubs fulfil their role as vital third spaces where communities can come together.”

Other planned changes include overhauling cellars with state-of-the-art dispense equipment to ensure consistently perfect pints and repositioning tills to speed up service. Meanwhile, new energy efficiency measures such as heating controls, insulation and low-energy lighting are expected to cut each pub’s energy use by 15%.

Dutch Heineken confirms higher bid for Asia Pacific Breweries

Dutch brewer Heineken NV (AMS:HEIA) said it had agreed a final, higher bid of SGD5.6bn (USD4.5bn/EUR3.6bn) for the direct and indirect stakes in Singapore-based peer Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd (SGX:A46), or APB, held by Fraser & Neave Ltd (SGX:FNN), or F&N.

The statement came to confirm an earlier report by Reuters, which cited knowledgeable sources, that the company was in talks to sweeten its bid in an effort to prevent a Thai rival, Kindest Place Groups Ltd (KPG), from gaining control of the maker of Tiger beer.

KGN, which is owned by Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi’s son-in-law, made an unsolicited and conditional bid of SGD55.00 for F&N’s direct 7.3% stake in APB earlier this month. Charoen owns Thai Beverage Pcl (SGX:Y92), which is F&N’s biggest shareholder with some 24%.

Heineken raised its offer to SGD53.00 per share for F&N’s 39.7% stake in APB, up from the previous SGD50.00 apiece, and proposed the same amount of SGD163m for F&N’s interest in the non-APB assets controlled by Asia Pacific Investment Private Ltd, APIPL, their 50/50 joint venture. The target’s owner has committed to irrevocably recommend the offer and hold a general meeting to put it to the vote, Heineken said.

The final offer represents a premium of 54% over the one-month volume weighted average price per APB share and a price/earnings multiple of 35.1 times for the last twelve months ending 30 June 2012, Heineken said. It described it as providing “compelling” value for F&N and APB shareholders.

Upon completion of the deal, Heineken will own an 81.6% stake in APB it and will immediately start a mandatory general offer of SGD2.5bn for the remaining APB shares. It will fund the transaction with available cash of some EUR2bn, a revolving credit facility and a new bridge commitment arranged by Credit Suisse Group AG (NYSE:CS) and Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C). The Dutch brewer asserted that it was committed to reducing its net debt to EBITDA ratio to below 2.5 times within 24 months following the completion of the deal.

The transaction is subject to gaining regulatory clearance, apart from F&N’s shareholder approval, and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2012, but no later than 15 December 2012. Credit Suisse and Citigroup serve as financial advisers to Heineken.

Heineken mulls increasing offer for Asia Pacific Breweries

Dutch brewer Heineken NV (AMS:HEIA) is holding discussions to possibly improve its SGD50.00 (USD39.93/EUR32.26) a share offer for the direct and indirect stakes in Singapore-based peer Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd (SGX:A46), or APB, held by Fraser & Neave Ltd (SGX:FNN), or F&N, Reuters reported today citing knowledgeable sources.

The Dutch firm could lift its offer by up to 10% subject to F&N’s rejecting an unsolicited and conditional bid of SGD55.00 apiece for its direct 7.3% stake in APB. The SGD1bn partial bid was launched last week by Thailand’s Kindest Place Groups Ltd (KPG), which is owned by Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi’s son-in-law. Charoen is the owner of Thai Beverage Pcl (SGX:Y92), F&N’s biggest shareholder with some 24%.

Neither F&N, nor Heineken wished to comment.

Heineken’s total bid for the 58% stake in APB, which it does not own, is valued at SGD7.7bn. This includes a mandatory general offer for minorities in APB for up to SGD2.4bn. F&N’s board already recommended the Dutch firm’s offer to its shareholders on 3 August.

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) serves as advisor of F&N, whereas Citigroup (NYSE:C) and Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS) act as advisers to Heineken. KPG uses the services of Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) and HSBC (NYSE:HBC).

Dutch brewer Heineken acquires Belgian cider maker Stassen

Netherlands-based brewing major Heineken NV (AMS:HEIA) said today it had bought Belgian cider maker Stassen SA from its management for an undisclosed sum.

Through the deal, which is pending customary closing conditions, Heineken gains solid research and development capabilities and facilities as well as cider production capacity in continental Europe, it added.

The buyer said that its decision to purchase the Belgian firm was prompted by the increasing interest in the international cider category. Heineken added that it is strengthening its position by introducing new products, such as Bulmers No. 17 and Jacques cider, as well as through the international roll-out of its global cider priority brand Strongbow Gold.

Heineken’s chief commercial officer Alexis Nasard said that the company will keep Stassen Ciders’ staff. Stassen’s managing director Philippe Stassen added that the firm will become Heineken’s cider R&D centre, thus boosting its position in the category’s premium market segment.

Stassen runs a cider manufacturing plant, a R&D facility, including a new product pilot plant, as well as a de-alcoholisation facility for cider, beer and wine. The firm has collaborated with Heineken in the development of the latter’s Strongbow Gold, Jacques and Bulmers No. 17 ciders.