BOOM TIMES AHEAD

Will April be the best month yet for Corona?

You know the beer industry has had a tough quarter when Corona falls on hard times. Distributors have said the brand has suffered in Q1. even down double digits in Feb in some markets. Is the bloom finally off the rose for Corona?

HARDLY. The chart above shows IRI retail scan data for supermarkets last year for the brand, and you can clearly see that Corona was gangbusters in Q1 last year, just before the big price increases in March. Cycling 25% is tough duty for anybody, even Corona.

DISTRIBUTORS BULLISH. Distribs we’ve spoken with are still quite bullish on Corona , even if they don’t handle the brand. An early glance at our survey shows most distributors predicting that the brand will be up double digits again this year. Why?

MALTERNATIVES. While many distributors are still optimistic about the performance of malternatives this summer, most are saying that it won’t be quite as good as last year. Many are saying that Corona will be a beneficiary of this trend, both in sales and gained shelf space. After all, Corona and lime was the first malternative.

APRIL WILL BE HOT. Look for fantastic trends in April for Corona , since last year it was the only down month for the brand in grocery stores after the March buy-in. April may be the biggest month yet for Corona percentage-wise. Even with price increases, the brand is like the Energizer Bunny.. it keeps going, and going.

A-B WROTE CHECK FOR $116.4 MILLION YESTERDAY. But it’s only money. A-B closed the agreement that will increase its stake in Chinese beer giant Tsingtao to 27% over the next seven years (see BBD 01-29-03). Under terms of the pact, originally inked in October, Tsingtao will issue three convertible bonds to Anheuser-Busch worth about $182 million. As the debt converts to equity, A-B’s piece of Tsingtao will increase from a current 4.5% to 27%. At closing, A-B wrote a check for $116.4 million and will write another one for $65.2 million within a year. In addition to the stake in the brewer, that kind of cash will also get you representation on Tsingtao ‘s board and various key governing committees.

IN BUSINESS WITH THE REDS. However, the Chinese government will remain Tsingtao ‘s dominant shareholder, with a 30.6% share even after the bond conversion

MTD Sell Day: 4 Sell Days This Month: 22 Sell Days This Month Last Year: 22
YTD Over/Under Sell Days: 0 This Month Ends on a: Wed. Last Year This Month Ended on a: Tue.