ASAHI TO ACQUIRE INDEPENDENT LIQUOR FROM UNITAS CAPITAL AND PEP

Hong Kong, 18 August, 2011 – Unitas Capital (Unitas) today announced that the firm, along with Pacific Equity Partners (PEP) and other minority shareholders, had reached an agreement to sell 100% of Independent Liquor to Asahi Group Holdings for an enterprise value of NZ$ 1.525 billion.

Unitas and PEP jointly acquired Independent Liquor for NZ$1.2 billion in 2006 and currently own an equal stake of 43.9% each. Since their investment in 2006, the private equity firms have worked with Independent Liquor’s management to successfully build the business and increase revenues, despite challenges brought on by a change in the RTD excise tax rate in Australia in April 2008.

Commenting on the deal, Phillip Bower, Managing Director at Unitas Capital said: “We have thoroughly enjoyed working with the Independent Liquor management. Peter Murphy and his team have done a great job of steering the company through the headwinds of regulatory uncertainty with the Ready To Drink excise tax to create a profitable and market leading business with strong growth prospects.” 

Tony Duthie, Managing Director at Pacific Equity Partners added: “This is a great outcome for Independent Liquor, leaving the company well positioned to take advantage of its market leading position and growth potential.”

Peter Murphy, Group Chief Executive at Independent Liquor added: “Over the past three years the management team and I have worked hard to build Independent Liquor into a profitable business with strong growth opportunities. Over that time we have worked closely with our strategic investment partners PEP and Unitas. Their support and expertise in helping to set the strategy, providing advice on operational matters has been invaluable. This is a great outcome for Independent Liquor and positions us well to continue to develop the business in the future.”

Mr. Naoki Izumiya, President at Asahi Group Holdings, Ltd. said: "This acquisition provides a unique opportunity for Asahi Group to enter the attractive ARTD sector in Australia and New Zealand. The transaction demonstrates our commitment, in line with our strategy, of increasing our presence overseas and enhances Asahi Group’s position in the global alcoholic beverages market. Integrating Independent Liquor into our existing operations in the region, including soon to be acquired P&N and Charlie’s Group, will bring real benefits to both Asahi Group and Independent Liquor."

The deal is expected to be completed in September, pending approval from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) and New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office.

Advisors to PEP and Unitas were UBS as financial advisers and Clayton Utz as legal advisors. Advisors to Asahi were Nomura and Rothschild as financial advisers and Freehills as legal advisers.

 

About Unitas Capital

Unitas Capital is one of the most experienced dedicated regional private equity firms in Asia, with US$4 billion in capital commitments under management as of December 31, 2010. Since 1999, Unitas has advised on investments exceeding US$2.3 billion into 28 companies. Unitas targets control investments in market-leading industrial, branded consumer and retail companies with strong cash-generative business models, barriers to entry and differentiated product capabilities. Unitas has a successful track record of investing in growth-oriented global businesses, in particular those with a large market in Asia but headquarters based outside the region. For further information, visit www.unitascapital.com

 

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