Molson Coors to brew Cobra beer in India

M. Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on March 12, 2018

Molson Coors Brewing Company, over two centuries old and among the largest brewers in the world, has signalled its entry into the growing Indian beer market through a joint venture with Cobra India.

The 51:49 venture, to be called Molson Coors Cobra India, and headquartered in Mumbai, will see an initial investment of $35 million.

It will brew the Cobra brand beer and market it in India and South Asian countries such as Nepal, Bangladesh, the Maldives, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

According to Mr Kandy Anand, President, Molson Coors International, the company would purchase a controlling stake of Cobra India from the existing shareholders and have operational control.

While the President of Cobra India, Mr Ravi Kaza, will continue to steer the new entity, the Chairman will be Lord Karan Bilimoria, Cobra's founder.

Interestingly, Molson Coors had forged a global venture with Cobra Beer, UK in 2009 on a 50.1:49.9 equity structure. The India operations — Cobra Beer India Ltd, which was struggling to get over its financial woes — continued on its own and was on the way to recovery.

The deal with Cobra India includes land, a 175,000 hl (hectalitres or 100 litres) brewery in Bihar , with potential to expand to 500,000 hl, and a beer portfolio consisting of Cobra Premium, King Cobra Superior and Iceberg 9000.

Talking to Business Line from the US over telephone, Mr Kandy Anand said the initial investment would go into upgrading the capacity of the company-owned brewery in Patna, Bihar, working capital needs, infrastructure and strengthening of sales and marketing.

Molson Coors, the family owned, US-based brewer, with leadership presence in the US, the UK and Canada, has leading brands such as Coors Light, Carling and Blue Moon. It will focus on establishing and expanding the Cobra beer in the first 18 months.

“During this period we will weigh various options for expansion in the Indian market, Mr Anand said.


Asked if the company was late to enter the Indian market, where top beer producers such as In bev, SabMiller, Heineken and Carlsberg are already present, Mr Anand said, “The Indian beer market is expected to triple in the next 10 years. Therefore, big opportunities await as the market is shaped.”

Published on June 23, 2011

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