The World’s largest Tequila producer has IPO-ed in one of the largest floats to date. Becle, the company behind Jose Cuervo,which takes its name from the man who received a permit from the Spanish crown in 1795 to distill the drink today known as tequila, has shunned New York and floated onto the Mexican Stock Exchange and come up trumps, raising, at the present exchange rate, circa $900 million dollars.
Jose Cuervo priced at the top of the expected range at 34 pesos per share, giving it a value that is nearly 21x earnings, and marks the first Mexican IPO since Donald Trump won the U.S. presidency. Jose Cuervo had initially released a prospectus in September but postponed it’s the IPO when The Don was elected president.
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While some thought the IPO would have a wall to climb to allay fears of the potential tax on imports, these reports have been overstated and investor consumption has been through the roof with distilled accounts indicating the float was 8x oversubscribed. In fact, the current political climate has impacted the Mexican economy, creating a boon for Jose Cuervo with the peso hitting record lows against the dollar. The present exchange rate has made Jose Cuervo cheaper to export to the U.S. compared to other spirits and, if reports by money magazine are to be believed, American’s are now buying more foreign alcohol than ever before.
Some investors are questioning the potential growth opportunities for Jose Cuervo which already boasts 30% of the Tequila market. However, Becle has recently made a push into the premium space, launching the 1800 brand of Tequila which is targeted at a much more affluent audience. Added to that, the Tequila industry is the second fastest growing spirit behind whiskey, with an expected annual growth rate of nearly 3%. And, while Tequila sales are growing, Becle has started to diversify into other spirits. In 2015 the company sold it’s 50% stake in Don Julio to Diageo and received the Bushmills whiskey brand in return giving Becle a shot at taking part of the lower end of the whiskey market.
Becle is also looking to make a move into the leisure industry as it plans to use proceeds from the IPO to transform the area surrounding the town of Tequila, Mexico, into a Napa Valley-like destination for tourists and lovers of the spirit, which is made from blue-agave plants in the area. Funds will also be used for general corporate purposes, which may include acquisitions, according to the IPO prospectus.
As always, you should take the information outlined in the prospectus with a pinch of salt. The political climate is too unpredictable at the moment to be able to forecast projected earnings on a good that relies heavily on exporting to a single market. Wash the figures down with lime and a chaser before deciding to invest or not.
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