Heineken to sell Mexican can, bottle maker to Crown

AMSTERDAM/BRUSSELS Mon Sep 1, 2014 4:30am EDT

A plastic container with empty bottles of Heineken beers are pictured among beer kegs outside a restaurant in Singapore August 29, 2012.   REUTERS/Tim Chong

A plastic container with empty bottles of Heineken beers are pictured among beer kegs outside a restaurant in Singapore August 29, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Tim Chong

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AMSTERDAM/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Dutch brewer Heineken (HEIN.AS) has agreed to sell its Mexican packaging business Empaque to Crown (CCK.N) for $1.23 billion including debt, shedding a non-core business it acquired when entering the Mexican market in 2010.

The world's third-largest beer maker said on Monday the sale would allow it to focus resources on brewing and marketing its lagers, ales and ciders.

Heineken said the sale of Empaque, which generated revenue of $660 million and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of $130 million in 2013, would result in a post-tax book gain of about 300 million euros ($394 million).

The deal will preserve Empaque's position as a can, cork and glass bottler supplier for Heineken through long-term contracts.

The Dutch company said it was already on course to reach its target of a net debt/EBITDA ratio below 2.5 times by the end of the year, when the deal was expected to close, although Monday's announced sale would give it further financial flexibility.

At the end of June, that ratio stood at 2.5 times.

Heineken became the number two player in Mexico when it bought the beer business of Mexican bottler and retailer FEMSA FMSAUD.MX (FMX.N) in 2010. The latter now owns 20 percent of Heineken directly or via Heineken Holding (HEIO.AS).

Food packaging company Crown, based in Philadelphia, is a leading drinks can and metal container maker operating in 40 countries.

Heineken said that Moelis & Company UK LLP and Gibson Dunn & Crutcher had acted as its advisers for the transaction.

($1 = 0.7613 Euros)

(Reporting by Anthony Deutsch in Amsterdam, Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels; Editing by Mark Potter)

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