Japan’s Kirin to buy “under 10%” stake in maker of Indian craft beer Bira for $30m

Photo: Bira's Facebook page

Japan’s beer maker Kirin Holdings will invest $30 million in New Delhi-based B9 Beverages, the companies said on Monday, as it seeks to secure a spot in India’s growing craft beer market amid falling sales at home.

The Japanese brewer will acquire a stake of under 10% in B9, the maker of India’s popular craft beer Bira, a Kirin spokesman and Bira CEO Ankur Jain told Reuters. They declined to give further financial details.

B9 had been in talks with international brewers — including Kirin — and other investors to sell a stake of up to 20% in the company, Reuters reported in August.

The investment would allow Bira, which has posted losses in recent years and has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, to break even in the 2022 fiscal year which starts in April 2021, Jain said.

“The companies will be exploring business synergies,” Jain said, adding that the investment would allow Bira to accelerate plans to launch its products in Japan later this year. He expected the deal to be closed over “the next few days”.

While Bira, launched in 2015, is one of the smallest players in India’s broader beer industry, its craft beer offerings have become increasingly popular in recent years. Bira says it has a 5-10% share of the beer market in cities such as New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.

Kirin meanwhile has historically shown interest in independent breweries and owns a minority stake in New York’s Brooklyn Brewery.

But its M&A record overseas has been patchy, with the Japanese firm selling its unprofitable Brazilian unit in 2017 to Heineken after losing market share.

Its entry into Myanmar in 2015 has also come under scrutiny amid a probe into its local partner’s connections to the military.

Data provider PitchBook estimates Bira was valued at $210 million in 2018. US-based Sequoia Capital holds a roughly 45% stake in the company, while CEO Jain and his family own around 30%.

Reuters

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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).

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  • 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.