RBC Capital Markets upgraded its recommendation of beverage maker AB InBev, following the latter’s debt refinancing.
Shares of the world’s biggest beer company got upgraded to a top pick rating by RBC analyst James Edwardes Jones. Jones indicated that AB InBev’s debt is under control, especially after the company refinanced parts of it.
After AB InBev borrowed a record $75 billion to buy SABMiller in 2016, the former’s debt level peaked at $100 billion. In January, AB InBev issued $15.5 billion in corporate bonds to pay off some of the debt due for repayment between 2021 and 2024 as well as 2026. Jones said, "The recent refinancing was sensible," and added, "It has replaced peaks of debt repayment with a smoother schedule which, at current exchange rates, should be doable from free cash flow, while significant appreciation in the US$ would be manageable."
Jones also suggested that AB InBev’s valuation should be gauged by its price-to-earnings ratio (which is relatively less expensive in this case) versus its enterprise value/EBITDA (relatively expensive) ratio. He cited the beer company’s non-cyclicality as a reason.
Last year, AB InBev’s stock prices suffered declines, apparently due to concerns over the company’s decreasing beer sales coupled with its burgeoning debt.