India: Beer maker Bira 91 scores $50m fresh funding from Belgium’s Sofina, Sequoia

Photo: Bira's Facebook page

As it sets its eyes on expansion into overseas markets, B9 Beverages Pvt. Ltd, the maker of the Bira 91 beer, has raised $50 million in a round led by Belgian family-owned fund Sofina, according to a Times of India report.

The latest round of funding, which was joined by existing backer and majority shareholder Sequoia Capital India Advisors, values the beer maker at around $210 million, the report said. The round brings B9’s total external funding to about $30 million.

Besides founder Ankur Jain, other investors in the company include Chennai-based asset management firm Anicut Capital; General Atlantic managing director Shantanu Rastogi and senior vice-president Alok Misra; Naik Family Trust 2013; Snapdeal co-founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal; ChrysCapital co-founder Ashish Dhawan; RNT Capital Advisors venture investor Mayank Singhal; and Deepinder Goyal, founder of restaurant discovery platform Zomato.

B9 Beverages, which recently started production in the US, is now looking to expand distribution, enhance production and enter foreign markets like the US, Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore. The company was earlier supplying beer imported from Belgium to the American market.

“We are entering phase two of our business. The new capital allows us to think long-term and establish a leadership position in premium beer in India. We also expect to create a meaningful international business in Asia and the US,” B9 Beverages founder & CEO Ankur Jain told Times of India. 

Set up in 2015, B9 initially manufactured Bira 91 in Belgium, which was an expensive proposition. The company began production in India in late 2016.

Jain had earlier said that the company is targeting to break even in its India business by the fiscal year ended 31 March 2019.

For the year-ended 31 March 2017, B9 posted a loss of Rs 55.06 crore compared to Rs12.32 crore the previous year. However, its revenue from operations during the reported period stood at Rs 30.9 crore, a massive jump from Rs 4.02 crore in the previous fiscal.

While a majority of the revenue came from selling beer in India, the company’s US subsidiary B9 Beverages Inc. generated sales of Rs3.4 crore from the US market during the year.

“The reporting is for the period when we were still importing from Belgium and operating at low gross margin level,” Jain had explained.

Commenting on the latest funding, Sofina head (Asia) Maxence Tombeur told Times of India, “With our Belgian roots and experience in investing in consumer businesses, we believe there is a great chemistry between our organisations and Bira.”

The fund said it will help the company scale in India and abroad.

Also Read:

India: Bira 91 raises $8m from Sequoia, plans to enter new markets

India: Sequoia-backed beer-maker Bira’s losses widen in FY17

India: Bira beer maker aims to go public in 3-5 years

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.