FILE PHOTO: The logo of AB InBev outside the brewer's headquarters in Leuven

JOHANNESBURG  - The world's largest brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev said on Friday it had agreed to divest its Australian subsidiary Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) to Asahi Group Holdings for AU$16 billion (approximately US$11.3 billion).

As part of the deal, AB InBev will grant Asahi Group the rights to commercialize the portfolio of the brewer's global and international brands in Australia.

AB InBev said once completed, the divestiture of CUB would help accelerate its expansion into other fast-growing markets in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region and globally.

It said it believed in the strategic rationale of a potential offering of a minority stake of Budweiser Brewing Company APAC, excluding Australia, provided it could be completed at the right valuation.

AB InBev chief executive Carlos Brito said the company continued to see great potential for its business in APAC and the region remained a growth engine within the group.

"With our unparalleled portfolio of brands, strong commercial plans and talented people, we are uniquely positioned to capture opportunities for growth across the APAC region," Brito said.

AB InBev said it would use a substantial part of the proceeds from the divestiture of the Australian business to pay down debt. 

Asahi Group has committed financing in place and the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including but not limited to regulatory approvals in Australia. 

The transaction is expected to close by the first quarter of 2020. 

- African News Agency (ANA)