Red Bull rival slumps from top to bottom of world

By BLOOMBERG

BANGKOK • The onetime top softdrink stock in the world is now the industry’s worst-performing equity.

Thailand’s Carabao Group plc, energy-drink maker and sponsor of a high-profile English soccer competition, has fallen almost 40% on a total return basis from a peak in October last year. The drop is the worst globally among soft-drink makers with a minimum US$1 billion (RM3.89 billion) market capitalisation, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Carabao overtook Red Bull domestically, surged following its listing in 2014 and two years later became the world’s best-performing large softdrink stock. But the challenge of successfully expanding in China and the UK, key overseas markets, weighed on the shares more recently.

“The UK operation has been disappointing, even with huge spending and investment, while China is a very tough market,” said Naree Apisawaittkan, an analyst at Phillip Securities pcl in Bangkok. “The baht’s strength will also hurt profit margins from exports at a time when domestic consumption is weak.”

CEO Sathien Setthasit said in December that he plans to pour US$300 million into expanding in China. Sathien was a billionaire when Carabao’s stock peaked last year.

He now has a net worth of US$718 million following the slide in the shares, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The firm in February said sponsorship of the Carabao Cup in England as well as Chelsea FC provide powerful marketing tools to spread its brand globally.

Net income slid about 16% last year to 1.2 billion baht (RM155.81 million). The shares have more than doubled since listing, despite the recent drop.