BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, declined to comment on a report that it was considering a flotation of part of its Asian operations, adding that it remained committed to its business in the region.
"In line with our culture, we always look at opportunities to optimise our business and drive long-term growth and we are very committed to our business in the Asia-Pacific region and excited about the potential of this geography," an AB InBev spokeswoman said.
Bloomberg reported on Friday that the Belgium-based maker of Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois was considering an initial public offering of part of its Asian operations as a way to alleviate its debt.
Bloomberg said that any deal could raise more than $5 billion, with the whole of the Asian business valued at around $70 billion.
AB InBev shares, which fell by 38 percent last year, were up 3.0 percent by 1030 GMT.
The company, which paid around $100 billion for nearest rival SABMiller in 2016, announced in October that it would be cutting its proposed dividend in half as beer sales fell in its largest markets of the United States and Brazil.
AB InBev is targeting a return to a net debt to EBITDA ratio of two times. Trevor Stirling, analyst at Bernstein Research, estimated that this multiple was 4.7 at the end of 2018 and would fall to 4.3 at the end of 2019 and 3.7 at the end of 2020.
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Alastair Macdonald and Kirsten Donovan)
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