April 24 (The following statement was released by the rating agency)
Fitch Ratings says that there is no rating impact
on Anheuser Busch InBev NV/SA (ABI, 'A'/'F1') following the revised final terms
of the agreement reached on 17 April 2013 with the Department of Justice for the
completion of the acquisition of a 50% stake in Grupo Modelo SAB de CV (Modelo).
The final terms do not materially alter ABI's credit metrics and operational
profile compared with Fitch's original expectations. The agency affirmed ABI's
ratings on 2 July 2012 following the initial announcement of the transaction.
In addition to the already agreed divestment of a 50% stake in the Crown Imports
distribution joint venture for USD1.85bn, last week's agreements involve the
sale of manufacturing assets in Mexico and rights to Modelo brands in the US in
perpetuity for USD2.9bn. These transactions reduce the EBITDA that ABI will
acquire with Modelo by USD0.31bn to USD1.8bn and increase the amount of proceeds
from the sale of assets to Constellation Brands ('BB+'/RWN) to USD4.7bn against
an initial agreement of USD1.85bn. These changes neutralise each other in terms
Thanks to Modelo's strong profitability Fitch expects an only minor dilution of
ABI's superior EBITDA margin of 39%. Also, despite the financial charges related
to the transaction and to the acquisition of a 51% stake in Cerveceria Nacional
Dominicana for USD1.2bn in 2012, ABI's annual free cash flow should remain in
the range of USD5bn to USD6bn over 2013-2015.
The net cash disbursement for ABI will be USD12.8bn, compared with an initial
estimate of USD14bn. Based on these new terms, the agency still projects
pro-forma (annualising Modelo's EBITDA) lease adjusted net debt/operating
EBITDAR in the range of 2.1x-2.3x and FFO-based lease adjusted net leverage at
approximately 2.5x in 2013. Both ratios are fractionally higher than the levels
compatible with ABI's 'A' rating. However, Fitch expects them to drop below
2012's levels in 2014 and this supports the Stable Outlook.