China's Tsingtao (OTCPK:TSGTY) is almost certainly the most recognizable Chinese beer brand in the United States and its flagship brand is still the leading single brand in China's large beer market, but that hasn't translated into much success lately for the company as a whole. Tsingtao has struggled to develop a cogent corporate strategy over the last five years, and the end result has been a weakening position in the attractive, growing premium categories as well as little traction in the mass-market/volume segment, not to mention steadily weakening margins.
While Tsingtao could be fixed, it is unclear to me if it will be. After two strong and successful management regimes, the approach of this management team seems muddled, unfocused, and not up to the challenges of competing with strong local rival China Resources Beer (OTCPK:CRHKY) (or "CRB") nor Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE:BUD) (or "ABI"). The shares are not dramatically mispriced, and Carlsberg's (OTCPK:CABGY) rumored interest in Asahi's 20% stake is encouraging, but it's hard to work up much enthusiasm for anything more than the potential of what a better-run Tsingtao could be.
Squeezed On All Sides, Tsingtao Needs To Change