APB chief brewing big growth plans

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Samson Wong, general manager of Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) Singapore.
The Straits Times

With the takeover by Dutch beer giant Heineken completed, local brewer Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) is now eyeing bubbling opportunities in regional markets, said the new head of APB's Singapore operations.

To meet expansion plans, the brewery in Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim will boost its capacity by 10 per cent over the next two months, and by 50 per cent within the next 18 months, said APB Singapore general manager Samson Wong, who took on the role four months ago.

The brewery makes beers like Heineken and Tiger, and APB is hoping to increase its exports to regional markets like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines.

Heineken and Singapore's Fraser and Neave (F&N) had run APB as a joint venture since 1931. But in July last year, Heineken dramatically moved to take over all of APB, after parties linked to Thai Beverage founder Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi bought stakes in F&N and APB.

Heineken's takeover of APB was completed earlier this year and now that the drama is over, the work is on integrating Heineken and APB's operations - and of course expansion.

Mr Wong says the leaner corporate structure after the takeover is opening the door for APB to expand its wings. A big hope is that the Singapore brewery will be able to export more beer to the region.

"Back then, Heineken was Heineken, APB was APB," said Mr Wong, of the days when APB was run as a joint venture.

"The way things worked between the breweries, between one joint venture and another joint venture... there were difficulties in aligning supply and production agreements."

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