HONG KONG – AB InBev, the world's largest brewer that produces Budweiser and Corona, on Tuesday revived plans to list its Asian business in Hong Kong but halved the size of its initial public offering to $4.8 billion.
The move comes two months after it temporarily shelved plans to raise $9.8 billion in what would have been the world's biggest IPO this year, citing market conditions due to prolonged, sometimes violent protests for democratic reforms in Hong Kong.
It still will be the biggest IPO in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory and will provide a shot-in-the-arm for the government as it seeks to assuage international jitters over the monthslong unrest that showed no signs of ending.
The company's Asia-Pacific subsidiary, Budweiser Brewing Company APAC Limited, said it will offer nearly 1.3 million shares for sale, for between 27 and 30 Hong Kong dollars each ($3.45-$3.83), raising up to $4.8 billion.
It said the revised offering includes an "upsize" option that will allow the company to sell up to 38% more shares if demand is strong. That could take the total sale up to $6.6 billion.
The company said Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC Private Limited will be its cornerstone investor, taking up $1 billion or 22% of the IPO. The listing, planned for Sept. 30, follows the company's recent sale of its Australian business to Japanese rival Asahi Group for ($11.3 billion) to pay down debts.
"We believe now is the right moment to do this IPO. We see keen interest in the market," said Budweiser APAC's Chief Executive Jan Craps.
He said the company views Hong Kong as the best place for the listing despite the unrest and that the revised valuations will make the IPO more attractive. The unrest has hit Hong Kong's economy, which is facing its first recession in years.
The proceeds will help AB InBev pare down debt of about $100 billion, accrued after an acquisition spree that included buying Anheuser-Busch in 2008 and its next closest rival, SABMiller, in 2015.