【英语中国】中国的保护主义救了可乐害了汇源

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2010-7-31 02:48

小艾摘要: Coca-Cola should be thankful for Chinese protectionism.Nearly two years ago, it made a $2.4 billion bid for China Huiyuan Juice. The deal would have been the largest foreign takeover ever of a Chinese ...
Coca-Cola should be thankful for Chinese protectionism.

Nearly two years ago, it made a $2.4 billion bid for China Huiyuan Juice. The deal would have been the largest foreign takeover ever of a Chinese company.

But it was blocked by Chinese regulators, a decision seen at the time as unreasonable hostility to foreign takeovers in Beijing. Thursday, in what seems like a postscript to a story from another age, French company Danone sold its 23% stake in Huiyuan to private equity group SAIF Partners for $260 million -- at half the price per share Coke was prepared to pay.

Coca-Cola, then, has ultimately escaped what could well have been a substantial overpayment for Huiyuan. Coke's original Huiyuan bid was made just before the collapse of Lehman Brothers: Six months later, when it was blocked, the world was a different place.

Since then, Coke's firm commitment to organic growth in China has served it well: Last year, through its existing holdings, it raised its share of China's fruit juice market by sales volume to 13.8% from 13.1% in 2008, according to data from Euromonitor. Second-place Huiyuan saw its share fall back to 7.3% from 7.5% meanwhile.

Huiyuan arguably lost much more from Beijing's actions. Sales last year were hardly up from 2008, and its gross margin is at levels seen in 2007. A tie-up with Coke, though, could well have provided Huiyuan with the added expertise needed for a real sea change in its fortunes.

As for Beijing's overall approach to large foreign takeover bids now, it's hard to say what that is. Straitened times for Western companies means no major deals have emerged to provide a new test case for China's monopoly laws.

Perhaps, by the time the next one does come, some lessons will have been learned about the benefits of openness.

可口可乐(Coca-Cola)应当感谢中国的保护主义。

Bloomberg News可口可乐公司在中国市场实现了有机增长的承诺。接近两年前,可口可乐提出以24亿美元收购中国汇源果汁(China Huiyuan Juice)。这桩交易如果成功,本来会是最大一桩外国公司在华并购交易。

但中国监管机构阻止了这桩交易,当时这一决定被视为北京方面对外国并购交易的无理敌视。周四的一桩交易有点像另一个时代的故事的后记──法国公司达能(Danone)以2.6亿美元的价格将其所持23%的汇源股份出售给私募股权集团SAIF Partners,每股价格仅为可口可乐当时出价的一半。

这么一来,可口可乐就最终逃脱了本来很有可能对汇源出价过高的命运。可口可乐最初提出收购汇源刚好是在雷曼兄弟(Lehman Brothers)崩溃之前:六个月后这桩交易遇阻之时,世界早已天翻地覆。

在那之后,可口可乐严格坚持在中国奉行内部增长的战略收到了很好的回报:据研究机构Euromonitor的数据,去年,可口可乐凭借现有资产,将其销量在中国果汁市场占有的份额从2008年的13.1%提高到13.8%

汇源果汁可以说因中国政府的行动而承受了更大损失。去年销售额较2008年几乎没有增长,毛利润率更是与2007年持平。而要是当初与可口可乐联手,汇源很可能会获得额外的专门技术,从而真正改变命运。

至于中国政府目前对于大规模外国收购提议的整体策略,很难说清楚到底是什么样的。西方公司经历了一段拮据时光,也就意味着可以对中国的垄断法规构成新考验的重量级交易未能产生。

或许等到下一桩大交易真正浮出水面时,关于开放的好处这方面的教训已经为人们所记取了。

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