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    04.10.2016   World: AB InBev wins approval for its takeover of SABMiller plc    ( )

    Anheuser-Busch InBev NV on September 28 won approval for its $100 billion takeover of rival SABMiller PLC, ushering in a new world order for the beer industry.

    Shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favor of the $100 billion-plus acquisition, one of the largest in corporate history. AB InBev will drop the SABMiller name and begin trading as a combined company Oct. 11.

    It also strengthens rival brewers who were able to scoop up discarded pieces of SABMiller. AB InBev sold off dozens of brands to gain regulatory approval for the deal, including Miller Lite, Peroni and Snow, the world's top-selling beer.

    The takeover is just the latest in a string of acquisitions for the Budweiser brewer. Built through the 2004 combination of Brazil's AmBev and Belgium's Interbrew, the company has now bought four major brewers since 2008, including Anheuser-Busch Cos., Mexico's Grupo Modelo and Korea's Oriental Brewing.

    Its pursuit of SABMiller began a year ago at a time when Belgium-based AB InBev was struggling to revive Budweiser in the U.S., its biggest market, and facing an economic downturn in Brazil, its second-biggest market.

    Acquiring SABMiller eases its reliance on those businesses by adding operations in South America, Australia and Africa. In volume, the deal makes AB InBev more than double the size of its closest rival, Heineken NV, which will have an 11% market share, according to industry tracker Plato Logic. The Belgian brewer's share of global beer profits will be four times greater than Heineken, according to beer analyst Trevor Stirling of Sanford C. Bernstein.

    Africa, one of the last remaining growth markets for the beer industry, will become 9% of revenue and a major focus at the company. The region's beer volumes are expected to grow three times faster than the rest of the world in the coming years, increasing the continent's share of global volume to 8.1% by 2025 from 6.5% in 2014, according to AB InBev.

    "The combination is all about accelerating our revenue growth, and one region which will drive much of that growth is Africa," Chief Executive Carlos Brito said during a call with analysts last month.

    However, SABMiller comes at a steep price, Mr. Stirling said. He estimates it will take about 10 years for AB InBev to recoup what it spent on SABMiller, nearly five times as long as it took for it to recover the $52 billion it spent on Anheuser-Busch in 2008.

    The cost of the deal rose as AB InBev sold off SABMiller assets to appease U.S., European and Chinese regulators. Rivals were able to pick up those businesses at attractive prices as AB InBev sought regulatory approval.

    In the U.S., AB InBev sold SABMiller's 58% interest in the joint venture MillerCoors LLC to Molson Coors Brewing Co. The $12 billion acquisition makes Molson, which previously owned 42% of MillerCoors, the world's third-most profitable brewer, up from fifth-most profitable, according to Sanford C. Bernstein.

    Denver-based Molson overnight will become the U.S.'s second-largest brewer with a 25% market share. It is poised to challenge AB InBev, which has a 44% market share.

    At a beer distributor conference on September 26 in Chicago, MillerCoors Chief Executive Gavin Hattersley said the company will attack AB InBev's top-selling Bud Light brand with a series of advertisements that begin airing Sunday. The ads will call out Bud Light for having more calories and less taste.

    "We've talked a lot about getting back to growth. That's our mantra," Mr. Hattersley said.

    In Europe, AB InBev agreed to sell global rights to the Italian beer Peroni and Dutch beer Grolsch to Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. The Japanese brewer plans to use the European beers to help bolster international distribution of its flagship Asahi brand and expand its business outside Japan, where a shrinking, aging population limits growth.

    In China, AB InBev agreed to sell SABMiller's Chinese beer business to China Resources Beer Holdings Co. The Chinese brewer agreed to pay $1.6 billion for the business, about half the fair value of the company, according to Mr. Stirling.

    The deal gives government-controlled China Resources SABMiller's interest in Snow, the world's best-selling beer by volume and a 30% market share in the country. But the company has struggled in recent years as young Chinese drinkers shift to wine and liquor from beer.

    China Resources will look to reverse that trend at the same time AB InBev, which retains an 18% market share in China, continues to push higher-priced beers like Budweiser, along with Harbin, a local brew.

    After the deal closes, AB InBev is expected to move forward with the sale of additional European brews, including Pilsner Urquell. It agreed to sell SABMiller's businesses in Hungary, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland to gain European approval. Combined, they accounted for about $2.3 billion of SABMiller sales, according to Exane BNP Paribas analysts.

    AB InBev recognizes the deal could embolden rivals. Speaking to its U.S. distributors at its own Goose Island brewery in Chicago on September 27, AB InBev Vice President of U.S. Sales Alex Medicis highlighted how the company had reduced its loss of market share relative to rival MillerCoors over the past year. He compared the competition to a foot race.

    "This is not a boxing fight," Mr. Medicis said. "We need to keep running and keep running faster."
    13.09.2016   UK: Molson Coors declares interest in acquisitions in Scotland’s growing craft beer sector    ( )

    The Scottish arm of North American brewing giant Molson Coors has declared it is open to making acquisitions in the country’s rapidly growing craft beer sector, as it highlighted a boost from two major supply deals with customers in Scotland, The Herald reported on September 5.

    The brewer has a track record of acquiring promising craft and real ale brewers, having snapped up Cornwall-based Sharp’s in 2011 and Cork’s Franciscan Well in 2013.

    Hugo Mills, head of Molson Coors Scotland, believes the rise of craft and cask beer mirrors consumers’ increasing demand for more niche and local products. And he said the company would “absolutely” consider doing deals in Scotland if the right opportunity arose.

    Mr Mills said: “Would we like to enter into that arena for Scotland? Yes, we absolutely would, for no other reason than to reinforce our own commitment to the Scottish marketplace. It wouldn’t have a material difference to our own profitability or commercial set-up. We would rather probably do it because we’d like to be encouraging and supportive of the development of some cracking small craft brewers.

    “So if the right opportunity presented itself then yes, we would certainly consider it.”

    Despite rapid growth in recent years, craft beer still only accounts for a small proportion of overall beer sales in Scotland. Mr Mills estimates the sector is responsible for four to five per cent of beer consumption north of the Border and believes the market to still be in its infancy.

    He said: “To the extent it will have a marked impact on the beer industry, I think it will require quite a few more years to make any material difference. The industry has proliferated in terms of the number of craft brewers. But the actual share of craft consumption still remains fairly small and fairly consistent.”

    Molson Coors was recently buoyed by securing a supply deal with Northern Services, the operator of student union bars in St Andrews, Glasgow (Glasgow University Union and Queen Margaret Union) and Belfast (Queen’s). Mr Mills said Northern Services previously had a long-standing supply deal with C&C Group, owner of Tennent’s Lager.

    “It gives us, undoubtedly, an absolutely amazing platform now to engage with the next generation of beer drinkers in Scotland,” he said.

    It has also just completed a stint supplying the bars at the Pleasance in Edinburgh during the Fringe in August. “It’s got an amazing backdrop for people that are open-minded and trying and experiencing new things,” Mr Mills said. “That works extremely well for a lot our brands.”

    Molson Coors continues to increase its share of the overall market in Scotland. Its Scottish unit is currently enjoying double-digit percentage growth, with data from industry analyst CGA showing that its Carling brand strengthened its position as number two brand behind market leader Tennent’s.

    Carling grew its market share from 5.9 per cent to 6.3 per cent in volume terms in the year to July 9, while nearest rival Stella Artois saw its share drop to 4.6 per cent from 5.1 per cent. Tennent’s remains out in front with a 64.1 per cent share of the total beer market.

    However, Mr Mills noted that the brewer’s strategy in Scotland is no longer as focused on Carling. Its ever-broadening portfolio includes the Swedish cider Rekorderlig, acquired from Chilli Marketing Brands last year, and Czech beers part of the Staropramen family. The brewer is also poised to welcome Miller Genuine Draft into its portfolio thanks to a deal cut in the aftermath of AB InBev’s giant, proposed acquisition of SABMiller.

    Mr Mills is satisfied with the momentum Molson Coors is building in Scotland, but is mindful of the challenges the wider licensed trade is continuing to go through, including the continuing shift to craft products and food, and a tough economic and legislative backdrop.

    He said: “As Molson Coors, we are certainly growing ahead of the marketplace – our business is (in) double-digit growth. We would be the only brewer in Scotland to be able to say that. We’re moving at quite a pace. What pleases me probably more than the growth is the fact we are positively impacting on businesses... and encouraging people to take on the changes needed to succeed in this tough marketplace.”
    23.08.2016   India: Carlsberg India managed to more than double its business during ...    ( )

    ... Michael Jensen’s three-year leadership

    For 54-year-old Michael Jensen, who heads Carlsberg in India, it's not easy to sell products that mostly appeal to consumers half his age. Yet, in his three-year stint as the chief executive of the Danish brewer in India, he has managed to more than double the business to exceed Rs 1,000 crore in calendar year 2015, The Economic Times reported on August 19.

    "It's not difficult if you are little young at heart. But you want to remind yourself constantly that what I know might not be what other people want. So listen to consumers," said Jensen. So far, he has his ears to ground. For a man with an MSc in Marketing, Market Analysis and Consumer Behaviour and another in International Business, Trade, and Tax Law, that shouldn't be difficult, even if the country is as diverse as India.

    Unlike most other markets, where Carlsberg's top seller is the milder version of lager, Jensen has been focusing on brands such as Tuborg Strong and Elephant in India because strong beer accounts for 80% of country's overall sales volume of 300 million cases.

    His bet seems to be paying off — while the Copenhagen headquartered firm is still a fifth in size compared to Heineken-owned United Breweries in India, the company has managed to take its share to nearly 16% of the market from about 6% five years ago. And Tuborg is the largest premium international beer brand in the country.

    Carlsberg is the third largest player in India, trailing market leader United Breweries which has 51% share and SABMiller with 23% share of the market. But in a country that, for the past three years, have seen tipplers sobering up and market growth slowing to 5%, Carlsberg has been growing by more than 40% each year. The company attributed the growth to focus on key markets, especially cities, keeping its brand portfolio limited and expanding its manufacturing footprint.

    "We have doubled our reach to 40,000 outlets but have kept our focus on top 140 cities. By forgetting the rest, you can concentrate on offering coolers and use of signboards in a better way," said Jensen.

    The parent company in its long term strategy — Sail 22 — has identified China, India and Vietnam as key drivers for growth. This fuels Carlsberg’s aggressive expansion — it now has seven breweries on ground and 2 co-packers in India.

    The alcoholic beverages industry in India is heavily regulated, with excise and other taxes forming an important source of revenue for state governments. In states that collectively account for 70% of the industry's revenue, the government controls manufacturing, distribution, retailing and pricing of liquor. This makes it difficult for most companies to make higher profits.

    For instance, a 650 ml bottle of Carlsberg costs Rs 60 in the western coastal state of Goa but in West Bengal, it sells for Rs 130 and in Maharashtra, Goa's bigger neighbour, its retails at Rs 160. While the industry has been lobbying to sort the multiplicity of tax issues with the government, Jensen likes to deal with it in his own Danish way. "I grab a cold beer and put my feet up. The world suddenly becomes far better."
    01.08.2016   UK: Craft beer may benefit from Brexit but big brewers may lose out    ( )

    Brewery news
    As businesses scramble to get their heads around the ramifications of leaving the European Union (EU), the beer industry is one that analysts predict will have split fortunes, with craft benefiting from Brexit and big brewers losing out in the face of unknown trading laws, The Drum reported on July 25.

    With production split between the UK and internationally, many brewers such as Heineken and the newly merged SABMiller and AB InBev may have to re-examine their business models and shift from imported to licensed beer depending on the positioning and consumer perception of the brand according to a newly released report by Rabobank. Currently, around 18 per cent of the UK’s beer market is imported, while 13 per cent of the production volume is exported.

    At Heineken, the brewer is still trying to fully understand the implications of the vote, but played down the impact it could have on its import/export business. Speaking a spokeswoman for the business said: “Heineken is a truly international business, and we work successfully within a huge variety of constitutions and political frameworks. Our business in the UK is strongly focused on UK consumers. Imports and exports are a relatively small proportion of that business and the majority of our supply chain is UK based.

    “We are working carefully to understand the full implications of the vote. Many of these will not become clear until there is greater certainty on the timeline and terms of the UK’s departure.”

    Currently, as a member of the EU, the UK benefits from the single market – the programme of freeing up the trade of goods and services as well as the movement of people between EU countries, which was introduced to reduce paperwork and ensure harmonised standards. Should the UK officially leave the EU, it is unknown what and how trading laws will be impacted, but it will have a negative impact on the beer industry, according to Jonny Forsyth, global drinks analyst at Mintel.

    “My view is that Brexit will have a net negative impact on the total UK beer market's growth over the next few years (assuming negative economic forecasts are correct).

    “We know from the 2007/08 recession that beer does get affected by economic headwinds. Especially in the UK where it relies a lot on pub trade and people tend to go out/spend less.”

    Despite the uncertain future of beer conglomerates, the craft side of the industry could be boosted by the weakness of the pound and a reduction in competition from foreign brewers.

    “The current weakness of the pound would suggest that local, UK brewers will do well over big brewers on price,” said Forsyth. However, it is a big assumption to suggest that the pound will remain so weak for a prolonged time. Brewers will have likely hedged their pricing for the next few months at least. So, while we may see a pricing advantage for local brewers in 2017, we are very unlikely to do so in 2016 - nothing much will really change.”

    Craft brewers however, should err on the side of caution when it comes to playing up the “Britishness” of their products given that 48 per cent of the population voted to remain in the EU, warned Forsyth.

    “In the previous 2007/08 recession, we saw that "Britishness" became a big selling point for British brands as people sought to support locals and pull together, so will this aid the UK craft beer scene this time? Less so.

    “However, I think that there will be a national mood to support entrepreneurial businesses that will help the country to a more positive future. This combined with the potential prospect of a price advantage could potentially give the UK craft brewing industry a big shot in the arm during 2017 and beyond.”
    25.07.2016   USA: AB InBev wins US antitrust approval for its takeover of SABMiller    ( )

    Anheuser-Busch InBev NV won U.S. antitrust approval for its takeover of SABMiller Plc, after the maker of Budweiser agreed to give up ownership of the Miller brand and open the door to greater competition from craft beers, Bloomberg reported on July 20.

    AB InBev will sell SABMiller’s stake in MillerCoors LLC, separating the two brands, and refrain from practices that restrict distribution of smaller rival brews, thus protecting the ability of craft and import beers to compete, the Justice Department said in a statement on July 20. The settlement will prevent any increase in concentration in the U.S. beer industry, according to the statement.

    “The two largest U.S. brewers - ABI and MillerCoors - will now remain independent competitors after the deal,” Sonia Pfaffenroth, a deputy assistant attorney general at the antitrust division, said in the statement. Distributors that sell AB InBev beer “will have the freedom to sell and promote the variety of beers that many Americans drink.”

    The agreement to allow the brewing juggernauts combine runs counter to the government’s recent moves against other big deals - the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission have killed proposed tie-ups in the cable, office supplies and oil drilling industries, among others. In this case, the companies proposed asset sales from the start that helped resolve antitrust officials’ concerns.

    AB InBev, already the world’s largest brewer, struck the 77-billion-pound ($101 billion) deal because it wanted to gain SABMiller’s access to emerging markets in Latin America and Africa.

    Following divestitures, the deal will keep Budweiser, Beck’s and Stella Artois under AB InBev’s roof, while ceding control of brands such as Miller in the U.S. and Peroni and Pilsner Urquell in Europe.

    “With today’s agreement, we have taken a significant step forward on the transaction, which will create the world’s first truly global brewer,” AB InBev Chief Executive Officer Carlos Brito said in a statement. “Our combination with SABMiller will bring more choice to more beer drinkers - and extend the global reach of our iconic American brands, such as Budweiser - in markets outside of the U.S.”

    The brewers still need clearance from China before they can close the transaction. Last month, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News that Chinese officials were close to blessing the tie-up after the companies agreed to divest the maker of Snow beer, the world’s top-selling brand. AB InBev expects to close in the second half of the year.

    There was pressure from some SABMiller shareholders to change the structure of the deal. Some fund managers wanted SABMiller to reconsider the 44-pound-a-share offer following the plunge in the pound since the U.K. voted to leave the European Union. SABMiller’s board, which is convening before the company’s annual shareholder meeting on July 21, has unanimously recommended the offer.

    AB InBev moved to address competition problems in U.S. by offering to sell SABMiller’s MillerCoors 58 percent stake to Molson Coors. Still, the deal triggered concerns from U.S. lawmakers, beer distributors and craft brewers worried about AB InBev’s control over the market.

    Craft brewers complained that AB InBev’s incentive system for beer distributors curbed the sale of competing beers by encouraging distributors to carry AB InBev brands.

    Under the settlement, which requires court approval, AB InBev is prohibited from acquiring a distributor if the acquisition would cause more than 10 percent of AB InBev’s beer in the U.S. to be sold through its own distributors. The brewer also can’t provide incentives or rewards to a distributor based on the percentage of AB InBev beer the distributor sells compared with the sale of rival beers. The distribution requirements will be in place for 10 years, according to the settlement terms.

    AB InBev is required to notify antitrust officials if it purchases a craft brewer, even if the size of the target falls below the legal reporting requirements, so the Justice Department can evaluate the competitive effects of any acquisition.
    22.06.2016   Latin America: Molson Coors poised to show strength in numbers due to ...    ( )

    ... integration of the Miller brand - analysts

    Late last year, Molson Coors confirmed its intention to buy out SABMiller from their MillerCoors US joint venture for US$12 bln. As part of the deal, Molson Coors will take control of the Miller brand portfolio globally.

    At the time, Molson Coors CEO Mark Hunter said the buyout would help accelerate Molson Coors' growth strategy "by strengthening our international beer portfolio ... as well as expand our presence in high-growth markets". Last month, Hunter even described the Miller Lite brand as providing a "great backbone" - along with its already-owned Coors Light and Staropramen brands - in international terms.

    Last week, analysts agreed that the integration of the Miller brand would prove "transformative" - particularly in Latin America. In a note following a management meeting, Cowen & Co's Vivien Azer said the company is poised to show strength in numbers.

    "Post the MillerCoors deal," Azer writes, "integration of the Miller brands should prove transformative to the segment, especially in Latin America as the brand will complement Molson Coors' footprint across the region and facilitate broader global expansion into additional markets such as Africa and Asia."

    Delving further into Latin America, Stifel analyst Mark Swartzberg said that, once completed, the transaction will see Mexico provide scope for growth.

    "In Mexico, the new rights to Miller Lite and the rest of the Miller International portfolio represent at least a 25% increase in region volume and the opportunity for joint marketing and in-market merchandising of Coors Light and Miller Lite, at a time when industry volume growth is at or above population growth and Bud Light is rapidly growing region share," he says.

    Molson Coors' acquisition of SAB's 58% stake in MillerCoors is conditional on Anheuser-Busch InBev completing its purchase of SAB. Both are expected to complete in the second half of the year.
    22.06.2016   USA: MillerCoors wins dismissal of lawsuit claiming brewer tricked consumers ...    ( )

    ... into paying premium prices for Blue Moon as “craft beer”

    MillerCoors LLC won the dismissal of a proposed class action lawsuit by a self-described beer aficionado who said the brewing giant tricked consumers into paying premium prices for Blue Moon by falsely portraying it as "craft beer", Reuters reported on June 17

    U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel in San Diego said the plaintiff, Evan Parent, did not show MillerCoors affirmatively misrepresented the origins of Blue Moon, a Belgian-style wheat beer, such as by suggesting it is brewed in small tanks and produced in a small brick building run by "The SandLot Guys."

    "At best, these advertisements contain generalized, vague and unspecified assertions that amount to mere puffery upon which a reasonable consumer could not rely," Curiel wrote in a decision on June 16.

    The judge also found no showing that MillerCoors pressured retailers to put Blue Moon in craft beer displays, and said it was not liable if concert venues, sports venues and restaurant chains such as Applebee's and TGI Friday's decided on their own to call it a craft beer.

    Parent is from San Diego, court records show. His lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment on June 17.

    Marty Maloney, a MillerCoors spokesman, said the Chicago-based company is pleased with the decision.

    The lawsuit sought unspecified damages.

    MillerCoors is jointly owned by SABMiller Plc and Molson Coors Brewing Co. It also produces such brands as Miller High Life, Coors Light and Molson Canadian.

    Curiel also presides over an unrelated lawsuit by former students of Trump University. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has proposed sealing the U.S.-Mexico border with a wall, has complained that Curiel cannot treat him fairly because of the judge's Mexican heritage.

    The case is Parent v MillerCoors LLC, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, No. 15-01204.
    02.06.2016   Japan & USA: Asahi Group Holdings pursuing deals in the US to boost distribution of its ...    ( )

    ...Super Dry beer

    Asahi Group Holdings Ltd., the Japanese brewer that’s buying European brands from Anheuser-Busch InBev NV worth $2.9 billion, is now pursuing deals in the U.S. that would help boost distribution of its Super Dry beer in the world’s largest economy, Bloomberg reported on May 18.

    Tokyo-based Asahi is willing to spend 400 billion yen ($3.7 billion) starting next year, which includes raising debt and 100 billion yen in cash, on further acquisitions, President Akiyoshi Koji said in an interview on May 18. The company is mainly seeking overseas investments to strengthen its alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage businesses, said Koji.

    AB InBev last month accepted Asahi’s offer to buy the Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime beer brands as the European brewer seeks to win regulatory approval for the purchase of SABMiller Plc. For Asahi, completing the biggest deal in its history would help the Japanese brewer expand abroad amid falling domestic beer consumption and changing tastes.

    “There’s huge potential that our Super Dry beer will gain popularity in the U.S.,” said Koji, pointing to the country’s growth in popularity of craft beers and diversified food culture. “The key is how to boost distribution power - then we can think of bringing our whisky, Shochu spirit and non-alcoholic drinks later on too.”

    The Japanese brewer is aiming to boost the ratio of its overseas sales contribution to 20 percent by 2018, up from 15 percent currently, and will look to expand in both the U.S. and Europe, said Koji, 64, who was promoted to the number two job March 24 after heading Asahi’s beer unit since 2011.

    The European deal may boost Asahi’s profitability and change its earnings structure, which has been heavily reliant on domestic beer sales, according to Satoshi Fujiwara, an analyst at Nomura Securities Co.

    “Asahi’s heavy dependence on its beer unit has been problematic, weighing on its top-line profit,” Fujiwara said by phone. Asahi’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization margin, which excludes liquor tax, is at about 14 percent while that of the AB InBev brands it’s acquiring is about 21 percent, he said.

    Asahi shares were little changed at 3,628 yen by the close of Tokyo trading on May 18. The stock has fallen 4.5 percent so far this year, compared with the benchmark Topix index’s slump of 13.5 percent.

    Asahi last month reported its highest-ever first quarter sales as demand for its alcoholic beverages rose. Sales rose 1.6 percent to 380.2 billion yen in the three months ended March 2016, while net income fell 95 percent to 614 million yen. The drop in net income is due to a one-time gain related to an investment in a Chinese company booked in the same period last year, according to the company.

    Recent mergers and acquisitions by Asahi, which also sells spirits and non-alcoholic beverages, include the purchase of New Zealand beverage maker Independent Liquor Ltd. in 2011. The Japanese brewer in 2009 bought a 20 percent stake in China’s Tsingtao Brewery Co. from AB InBev.

    Asahi is not interested to buy a stake in Vietnam’s Saigon Beer-Alcohol Beverages, and doesn’t plan to sell its stake in the Chinese beermaker Tsingtao, despite the economic downturn in China which has hurt beer consumption, according to Koji. Shandong province-based Tsingtao reported its 2015 net income fell 13.9 percent to 1.7 billion yuan ($260 million).

    “Tsingtao is striving to boost profit, so we’re supporting its effort to increase production efficiency while not having direct control over their business,” Koji said.
    18.05.2016   Australia: Australia's antitrust regulator clears AB InBev's takeover of SABMiller    ( )

    Australia's antitrust regulator on May 5 cleared beer giant Anheuser Busch InBev SA's planned $100 billion takeover of rival SABMiller Plc, saying the deal would not adversely affect the domestic market, Economic Times reported.

    "The ACCC considers that the proposed acquisition is unlikely to result in higher beer prices for consumers," Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.

    The deal would not hurt competition in Australia because AB Inbev sold its beers in Australia only via distributors, "has only a limited direct company presence in Australia and does not brew beer here," the ACCC said.

    The green light from Australia removes another potential antitrust obstacle to the world's No. 1 beer company's deal to buy its nearest rival, one of the biggest corporate takeovers on record. AB InBev has said it expects to complete the purchase by the end of 2016, but still has to secure antitrust clearance in Europe, where both it and its target are headquartered.

    AB InBev is the No. 2 beer supplier in Australia, behind Lion Nathan, owned by Japan's Kirin Holdings Co Ltd.

    The ACCC said AB InBev has until now had its beers, which include Corona, distributed in Australia by Lion Nathan. It has agreed to distribute the product itself to ease regulatory concerns that the companies may coordinate market activity, the ACCC said.

    The European Commission has said it will give its verdict on the deal on May 24. AB InBev has already offered to sell SABMiller's Grolsch and Peroni brands to address its potential concerns.

    In April, AB InBev agreed to delay any layoffs by five years and invest 1 billion rand ($67 million) to support South African farmers to secure regulatory approval for the deal in South Africa.
    26.04.2016   South Africa: AB InBev agrees to create $69 mln fund to support South African ...    ( )

    ... beer industry and protect jobs

    Anheuser-Busch InBev NV agreed to create a 1 billion rand ($69 million) fund that will support the South African beer industry and protect jobs in the country to help seal approval for its proposed $105 billion takeover of SABMiller Plc, Bloomberg reported on April 14.

    The deal struck between the Budweiser maker and the South African government includes a pledge to preserve its full-time employment levels in the country for five years after the deal closes and to not make any involuntary job cuts, Leuven, Belgium-based AB InBev said in a statement. It also includes financial help for new farms to produce raw materials like hops and barley for the combined company.

    “This transaction is by far the largest yet to be considered by the competition authorities and it’s important that South Africans know that the takeover of a local iconic company will bring tangible benefits,” the country’s Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said in the statement. “Jobs and inclusive growth are the central concerns in our economy.”

    The pledge echoes one made by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s biggest retailer, which agreed to set up a 200 million-rand development fund when it acquired Massmart Holdings Ltd. in 2011.

    South Africa is just one of the countries where AB InBev needs regulatory approval to combine the world’s two biggest brewers. The company has also agreed to retain a secondary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and locate its Africa office in the city.

    The agreement is “a major step forward in getting the proposed acquisition of SABMiller completed,” Eddy Hargreaves, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity, said by e-mail.

    South Africa’s Competition Commission asked for two extensions this month to a deadline to complete its investigation into the deal, without giving reasons for the delay. The country has a history of creating obstacles for foreign takeovers, taking 18 months to grant approval to Wal-Mart to buy Massmart. SABMiller’s deal to merge its African soft-drink bottling assets with those of Coca-Cola Co. has yet to be completed, 17 months after it was announced.

    The antitrust agency now has until May 5 to complete its assessment of the beer deal’s impact on the South African market.

    “If the Competition Commission concludes its investigation ahead of the current 5 May deadline, the prospects of getting the deal done by July rise significantly,” Mike Davies, founder of the political advisory company Kigoda Consulting, said by phone from Cape Town.

    Other commitments from AB InBev include work to reduce the harmful use of alcohol and support for South Africa’s empowerment policies, which aim to redress inequality caused by apartheid.

    London-based SABMiller, which started selling beer to gold miners in Johannesburg in 1895, controls 90 percent of South Africa’s market with brands like Castle Lager.
    26.04.2016   World: AB InBev accepts Asahi’s around $2.9 bln binding offer for Peroni, Grolsch and ...    ( )

    ... Meantime brands

    Anheuser-Busch InBev N.V. accepted the around $2.9 billion binding offer from Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. for SABMiller PLC's European premium brands and their related businesses.

    The brewing group, which is selling assets in the hope of getting antitrust approval for its roughly $108 billion acquisition of SABMiller, said on April 19 any deal is conditional upon AB InBev closing the SABMiller transaction.

    Included in the sale to Japan's Asahi are the Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime brands and related businesses in Italy, the Netherlands, the U.K. and internationally.

    Japan's Asahi made its offer for the brands, valued at about $2.9 billion in cash, in February. The sales are part of AB InBev's aim to secure European regulatory approval.
    24.03.2016   SABMiller’s Chibuku beer plant allowed to resume production    ( )

    The suspension order banning Chibuku production and distribution due to hygienic concerns has now been lifted, Malawi Bureau of Standards (MSB) announced on March 8.

    MSB banned production and distribution of Chibuku shake shake opaque beer for Lilongwe plant on March 2 following a health inspection exercise that found the SABMiller unit was producing beer unfit for human consumption.

    “The MBS wishes to inform the general public that it has uplifted the suspension order on production and distribution of Chibuku Shake Shake opaque beer for Lilongwe plant.

    “The lifting of the suspension order follows verification audits conducted by the MBS inspectors on 4th and 5th March, 2016 which found that the company has addressed the hygienic conditions of their factory as required by Malawi Standard 21” reads a statement by Malawi Bureau of Standards.

    The opaque beer is brewed in Malawi by Chibuku Products Limited (CPL), a subsidiary of SABMiller. CPL came under fire last year when it emerged that the company was discharging effluent into rivers, an act that was poisoning water for consumption.
    24.03.2016   USA: MillerCoors expands gluten-free beer range    ( )

    Following a test launch in the Pacific Northwest last year, MillerCoors is expanding its naturally gluten-free Coors Peak beer offering with a second style, Golden Lager, reported on March 16.

    Like its predecessor Copper Lager, Coors Peak Golden Lager is brewed with 100% all-natural, gluten-free ingredients, including California brown rice and Pacific Northwest hops. While Copper Lager is a rich copper color with a slight caramel profile, Golden Lager is bright and balanced, with a toasted-malt backbone and hints of citrusy hops.

    “We spent nearly five years experimenting with different grains to develop a great tasting beer that is 100% naturally gluten-free,” said Troy Rysewyk, MillerCoors manager of brewing technology and innovation. “We wanted to highlight the versatility of our signature brewing process and ingredients by developing additional styles. After considering multiple grain options, including sorghum, amaranth and quinoa, we are proud to be the only major brewer crafting a great-tasting, naturally gluten-free beer brewed from brown rice.”

    Coors Peak Golden Lager is a full-flavored, medium-bodied beer that contains 5% alcohol by volume. Coors Peak Copper and Golden Lagers are naturally gluten-free from grain to glass and are certified gluten-free by the Gluten Intolerance Group.

    “We’re excited to give both Coors Peak Copper and Golden Lagers our stamp of approval and to help spread the word about this growing line of naturally gluten-free beers," said Channon Quinn, vice president of food safety with the Gluten Intolerance Group.

    Coors Peak Copper and Golden Lagers are available in the Seattle and Portland metropolitan areas. Golden Lager can be found in six-packs of 12-ounce bottles, and Copper Lager can be found in both six- and 12-pack bottles at stores and select bars and restaurants.

    Chicago-based MillerCoors is a joint venture of SABMiller plc and Molson Coors Brewing Co.
    24.03.2016   USA: The “King of Beers” but suffers from continuous volume decline    ( )

    There's no doubt when it comes to the amount of beer brewed, Anheuser-Busch InBev reigns supreme in the U.S., where it accounts for 46% of the market all by itself, as well as globally, where it is also the largest brewer in the world, The Motley Fool reported.

    In 2015 AB InBev brewed 413 million hectolitres of beer - that's some 10.9 billion gallons, or over 351 million barrels - while No. 2 brewer SABMiller reported it produced 324 million hectolitres last year, or 276 million barrels. In comparison, leading US craft brewer Boston Beer produced 4 million barrels. And the 4,100 craft breweries in existence in the U.S. today collectively produced just 22 million barrels.

    But if bigger were always better, then Anheuser-Busch, Miller, and No. 3 brewer Molson Coors would be seeing sales grow, and in the USA that is not the case. According to the Brewers Association's mid-year report last July, craft production volumes were up 16% over 2014 and had reached an 11% share of total volume production for beer, which on a retail dollar basis, gave the industry almost 20% market share. Considering the total beer market itself was up just 0.5% in 2014, it's been the craft brewers and not the mass-brewed beers that have been carrying the industry higher.

    Although Anheuser-Busch InBev's Budweiser brand terms itself the "King of Beers" and has reveled in its vast size for years, it's obvious volume isn't everything.

    The American Customer Satisfaction Index recently released its latest annual survey of more than 70,000 consumers on how satisfied they are with more than 300 companies across 43 industries and 10 economic sectors. Based on the responses, the market researchers assign a score to the companies between 100 and -100.

    The latest index results gave Anheuser-Busch InBev a 74 rating in customer satisfaction, a 3.9% drop from last year's ranking of 77, and almost 12% below its score of 84, recorded back in 1994 when ASCI first began tracking customer opinion. Significantly, A-B's score is also below the industry average of 76.

    When it comes to mass brewers, there really are only a handful of breweries to compete against. So which one was deemed best? MillerCoors, the joint venture of SABMiller and Molson.

    While the survey doesn't break out by brands which beer might have generated such consumer support, by looking at the brewer's financial results, it's probable it was its Coors brand that carried the day.

    MillerCoors reported both the Coors Light and Coors Banquet brands grew market share in their respective segments in 2015, with the light beer enjoying its best quarterly volume performance since the second quarter of 2014, while the full-bodied version achieved its ninth consecutive year of growth.

    However, in light of the merger that may happen between Anheuser-Busch and SABMiller, this could be the end of the line for MillerCoors. As part of A-B's effort to smooth the regulatory path to approval for its $107 billion takeover of Miller, it hammered out a side agreement to sell to Molson for $12 billion the 42% share in MillerCoors that it doesn't already own, giving Molson the global rights to the Miller brand.

    As a result of adding that portfolio to its own, Molson Coors will be launched it into the No. 2 spot in the beer market with about a 25% market share, ahead of Heineken, which is a distant third with a 9% share.

    The world of the macro brewers is shrinking as a result of consolidation. Soon, perhaps, Anheuser-Busch InBev will be able to once again make "King of Beers" more than a branding slogan, but that might be because there's nobody left to really compete against it. Whether that leaves consumers satisfied is another question.
    29.02.2016   India: Strong beer helping Carlsberg ride out sluggish sales    ( )

    Strong beer is helping Carlsberg ride out of sluggish beer sales in India. At a time when the overall Indian beer market is growing at about 5% a year, robust sales of brands like Tuborg and Elephant have helped the Danish brewer double its local business every two years, Brand Equity reported on February 9.

    Unlike most other markets, where Carlsberg's top seller is the milder version of the eponymous lager, the company's Indian unit has been focusing on brands such as Tuborg Strong and Elephant because strong beer accounts for 80% of country's overall sales volume of 300 million cases.

    "The growth can be attributed to the long-term strategy to focus on key markets, especially cities, focused brand portfolio, expanding manufacturing footprint, increased product availability and above all a strong team," said Michael Jensen, managing director, Carlsberg India, which reported a 54% increase in sales at . Rs 765 crore during FY15 with net loss of Rs 232 crore.

    However, despite the healthy sales numbers, innovations and aggressive product launches, Carlsberg's market share in India the world's third fastest growing beer market is one of its lowest globally. Tuborg, which was launched in the country as a premium brand in 2009, has now become the second largest strong brand.

    Carlsberg is the third largest player in India with 15% share, trailing market leader United Breweries, which is controlled by Heineken, which has 51% share, and SABMiller which has 23% share.

    "Most of the premium brands have done well in the last few years. Carlsberg seems to have taken share mainly from SABMiller and some fringe players since United Breweries has been consistent in maintaining its share," said Abneesh Roy, associate director at Edelweiss Capital.

    SABMiller, the maker of Haywards and Knock Out beer, clocked 1% growth in net sales at Rs 1,940 crore, and a net loss of . Rs 127 crore in 2014-15. UB, which sells Kingfisher beer, grew 11% at RS 4,692 crore in net revenue and profit of Rs 260 crore.

    The alcoholic beverages industry in India is heavily regulated, with excise and other taxes forming an important source of revenue for state governments. In states that collectively account for 70% of the industry's revenue, the government controls manufacturing, distribution, retailing and pricing of liquor.

    This makes it difficult for most companies to make higher profits. In fact, SABMiller, the world's second-largest brewer, has written down $313 million (Rs 2,000 crore) of its investment in India last year, citing increasing regulatory and excise challenges.

    But Carlsberg is hopeful to be out of the red despite increasing its investment the company's seventh plant became operational last fiscal in Bihar and its existing plant in Haryana undertook capacity expansion.
    03.02.2016   World: Private equity firm KKR reportedly back in tender for Peroni, Grolsch beer brands    ( )

    The line-up of bidders for SABMiller‘s Peroni and Grolsch beers has changed, with U.S. private equity firm KKR replacing Bain Capital, which was unwilling to engage in a bidding war with industry players, Thomson Reuters reported on January 27 citing three sources familiar with the matter.

    KKR was not initially shortlisted as one of the final bidders for the brands being unloaded by Anheuser-Busch InBev to smooth its $100 billion-plus takeover of SAB. However, it was later readmitted to the auction after sweetening its bid, said one of the sources.

    Other private equity funds including BC Partners backed away earlier in the process, which is expected to wrap up in March.

    “Price expectations were pure madness,” said one of the sources, who declined to be identified as the matter is confidential.

    AB InBev, the maker of Budweiser, values the brands at no less than 2.5 billion euros ($2.73 billion), said the source, noting that strategic players were well placed to outbid private equity firms, given possible synergies.

    Another bidder for the package, which also includes London craft beer Meantime, is Zurich-based investment firm Jacobs Holding, the sources said.

    Jacobs, which owns 50 percent of Swiss chocolate company Barry Callebaut, had no comment.

    Reuters reported on Jan. 21 that four other parties made it to the final stages of bidding, namely Japan’s Asahi Group, Fraser and Neave, which is part of Thai Beverage, and European private equity firms PAI Partners and EQT.

    The bidders are expected to hand in binding offers in mid-February.

    AB InBev, SABMiller, KKR and Bain declined to comment.
    29.01.2016   China: Consumers swap mass-produced local beers for imports and local craft beers    ( )

    When Jin Xin first started selling imported premium beer a decade ago, his bar manager predicted that it would take a month or two just to sell a single case. But within a few years business picked up, and soon customers started frequenting the bar for its India pale ales and other European beers, NDTV Food reported on January 16.

    Now, one of Jin’s bars, NBeerPub, tucked away in a laid-back part of Beijing’s old town, buzzes with young Chinese customers ordering imports like Delirium Tremens, Lindemans Framboise and Brewdog Punk IPA. Jin even sold a bottle of Brewmeister Snake Venom, a high-alcohol barleywine-style beer from Scotland, for about 2,700 renminbi, or more than $420.

    “Slowly, Chinese people have more money in their pocket,” Jin, 43, said in his apartment, where over 6,000 bottles from more than 60 countries filled the shelves. “After they have money, some want something better in terms of taste as well as lifestyle, especially young people.”

    As tastes rapidly change, Chinese consumers are swapping mass-produced local beers for imports and local craft beers.

    It is the type of opportunity that is at the heart of Anheuser-Busch InBev’s $106 billion deal to buy SABMiller, its rival global brewer. While major markets in Europe and the United States have been sluggish, developing markets like China offer a growing customer base and the potential for a stronger profit.

    The Chinese middle class is swelling with young, affluent professionals who are more willing to spend money on brands and who are experienced travelers looking for a taste of other countries back home. And in China, most beer is still considered affordable. So sales have held up relatively well even as wine, the Chinese spirit baijiu and other more expensive liquors have been hit by the country’s anti-corruption crackdown and the slowing economy.

    “It’s an escape route from maturity in the West,” said Spiros Malandrakis, a senior analyst of alcoholic drinks at the research firm Euromonitor International, referring to the established markets of the United States and Europe.

    In China, Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller are betting on premium products.

    The two beer behemoths were among the first international entrants into China in the 1990s and initially teamed with local brewers. At the time, domestic breweries produced beer of inconsistent quality, but they were quickly multiplying, and consumption was soaring along with disposable incomes.

    SABMiller took a 49 percent stake in a joint venture that makes Snow, which is now China’s best-selling beer brand. Anheuser-Busch InBev has since bought Harbin and Sedrin, two other top domestic brands. Together, the international brewers account for about one-third of the overall beer market in China.

    As they pursue a merger, given their dominance, Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller are expected to prune their portfolio in China to keep regulators happy, though it remains unclear where the trimming will be done. Some analysts think they would be able financially to justify the sale of a big domestic brand like Snow, since the market is moving toward premium offerings.

    “They might be forced to divest, but it might not be the end of the world for them, because Snow is not necessarily the price point for them,” said Shaun Rein, founder of China Market Research in Shanghai. “Consumers are looking for better quality.”

    When the deal was announced, Anheuser-Busch InBev said it would “promptly and proactively” resolve any regulatory issues in China.

    The focus follows the shift in the market in recent years.

    Imports have swiftly grown to 1.4 billion renminbi (around $220 million) in 2013, from 335 million renminbi in 2009. But the total volume of beer sales in China has dipped of late.

    Homegrown craft beers are gaining favor. Beijing is home to about half a dozen microbreweries, and others have popped up in cities across China.

    At the Jing-A Brewing Taproom in Beijing, the owners, transplants from Connecticut and Toronto, serve American-inspired beers with local flair, including Worker’s Pale Ale, Airpocalypse Double IPA and Mandarin Wheat.

    Ji Chen, a banker, developed a taste for fine beer as a student in Belgium. When he returned to China, Chen, now 28, started buying imported beer at the supermarket and hanging out at brew pubs.

    “I don’t think it’s expensive,” he said, sipping the Flying Fist IPA at Jing-A. “If you go out to drink at a bar, you would have to spend this much for any drink you get. And craft beers here are of good quality.”

    The high-end varieties can fatten a company’s bottom line.

    More than 30 percent of sales under the Snow brand are in the premium segment, including Snow Draft and Snow Brave the World, according to SABMiller’s annual report. The brands Anheuser-Busch InBev markets as premium in China, which include Budweiser, Corona, Stella Artois and Hoegaarden, make up nearly a quarter of its sales by volume.

    “All of this premiumization and trading up is the biggest revenue driver of our industry,” Jean Jereissati, Anheuser-Busch InBev’s China president, said at an investor seminar in September. “And it is very relevant for our company.”

    Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller are digging deep into their cooler of longtime brands in the hope of attracting more discerning customers. In part, they are promoting the provenance of their brands.

    When Budweiser Supreme was introduced, the company projected a video detailing the recipe’s origins and ingredients onto a giant bottle in various Chinese cities. Against a striking soundtrack, the company described how the beer had the “rich aroma of wheat malt flavor and aristocratic bearing.”

    Lifestyle, too, is major selling point.

    Other advertisements featured Budweiser Supreme being poured in a restaurant by a waiter wearing white gloves. In the summer, women in their 20s, wearing dresses with Corona or Budweiser logos and sometimes long white boots, were often seen milling around the bars and chatting with customers in the upscale Sanlitun area of Beijing.

    “They put a lot of money into the marketing, the heritage — all those things make consumers pay more for it,” said Jonny Forsyth, a global drinks analyst at Mintel, a research firm. “That’s what’s been missing in China. Younger people are more receptive to it.”

    The message is getting through to consumers, who are increasingly willing to pay for beer.

    At Heaven Supermarket, a store and bar with a backpacker vibe, Chen Jing, 30, browsed through the imported beer with her boyfriend, both of them clutching beers that cost about 50 renminbi each, or nearly $8. A bottle of Snow from the grocery store next door cost just 1.9 renminbi, or about 30 cents.

    Most of the bottles going through the checkout at Heaven are overseas varieties like Hoegaarden, Corona and Budweiser, selling for 15 renminbi. And the store, across the road from a Rolls-Royce and Bentley dealership, is not short of people perusing more expensive beers, which can cost up to 100 renminbi, or about $15.

    Chen started drinking foreign beer after vacationing around China and Southeast Asia. She has taken such a liking to the beer culture that she is planning a holiday in Belgium.

    “I would rather be spending money on few quality beers than buying lots of cheap beers and feeling full and headachy,” she said. “It’s more about the lifestyle I choose than simply drinking.”
    06.01.2016   UK: AB InBev buys Camden Town Brewery in London    ( )

    Anheuser-Busch InBev has agreed to buy Camden Town Brewery for an undisclosed price, the companies said on December 21, even as the world's biggest brewer seeks to sell rival London craft brewer Meantime Brewing.

    The acquisition is expected to close by 7 January.

    AB InBev, which is trying to buy its largest rival SABMiller, is in the process of selling three SAB brands to avoid regulatory scrutiny. The brands being sold are Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime.

    With the Camden Town deal, AB InBev gets a European craft brewer that started full production in 2010. It has grown to a team of 95 and sold 12 million pints this year, with the beers sold in over 1,000 pubs and bars.

    Camden Town’s owners essentially conceded that the deal made sense for the same reason many small craft brewers have decided to sell: an opportunity to increase distribution.

    “We can’t do this on our own,” wrote founder Jasper Cuppaidge in a blog post. “That’s why I’m proud to say I’ve signed a deal with AB InBev.” The deal comes several months after Camden Town launched and completed a funding round via crowdfunding to help build a second brewery in London.

    AB InBev has been busy buying smaller brewers like Camden Town, though the deal analysts and investors are most keenly watching is the potential acquisition of SABMiller. Assets like Camden Town can help augment AB InBev’s portfolio and give it greater access to the craft category. But with AB InBev reporting quarterly volume of 121.7 million hectolitres – deals for names like Camden Town won’t move the sales needle much.
    07.12.2015   USA: Beer drinkers file a suit to block AB InBev's takeover of SABMiller    ( )

    US beer drinkers sued to block Anheuser-Busch InBev NV’s $110 billion SABMiller Plc takeover, saying the deal would force them to pay more for lower quality, Bloomberg reported on December 4.

    The acquisition by the world’s largest brewer of the second biggest would create a monopoly in the beer market in violation of U.S. antitrust law, the beer drinkers contend.

    Brewers of mass-market beer are trying to cut production and distribution costs as they lose sales to smaller independent brands in Europe and North America. Carlsberg A/S, the world’s fourth-largest brewer, announced this month that it would eliminate 2,000 jobs.

    The AB InBev lawsuit by San Francisco lawyer Joseph Alioto on behalf of 23 consumers was filed on December 1 in federal court in Oregon. The drinkers, who said they have bought products made by either or both companies, as well as craft beers, seek to permanently bar the sale.

    AB InBev believes the lawsuit claims are without merit and intends to vigorously defend against them, said John Blood, vice president of legal and corporate affairs.

    “The U.S. beer market has never been more competitive, with strong growth from craft brewers, and nothing in this transaction will change that fact,” Blood said in a statement on December 3.

    George Hudson, a spokesman for SABMiller, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

    AB InBev’s beers include Budweiser, Michelob and Rolling Rock. SABMiller’s beers include Fosters, Miller and Grolsch. The two companies control about half the industry’s profit.

    Alioto in June 2013 lost a bid to block AB InBev’s $20 billion acquisition of Grupo Modelo SAB over similar claims. Before that, Alioto sued unsuccessfully in an effort to stop InBev’s 2008 acquisition of Anheuser Busch Cos.

    In October, AB InBev announced plans to sell bonds worth as much as $55 billion to finance the takeover, setting a record for debt issuance to fund a corporate acquisition, according to people familiar with the matter.

    AB InBev has reached a $12 billion side deal to sell SABMiller’s stake in a joint venture with Molson Coors Brewing Co. in an attempt to resolve antitrust concerns in the U.S.

    The case is Dehoog v. Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, 15-cv-02250, U.S. District Court, District of Oregon (Medford).
    25.11.2015   World: Battle for Budweiser name not over yet    ( )

    Anheuser-Busch InBev may have finalised its $107 bln marriage proposal to SABMiller, but the giant brewer has never stopped thinking about the one that got away, Business Day Live reported on November 12.

    In Ceske Budejovice, a town of 93,000 nestled among the rolling hills of the southern Czech Republic, there’s a state-owned brewery called Budejovicky Budvar. Given that the town is called Budweis in the native German of most of its residents in the 19th century, the company’s beer is often known as Budweiser.

    That name has obvious appeal to the makers of the top-selling American beer, now controlled by InBev. For more than a century, the two sides have engaged in a legal tussle over the rights to the name, and at various times over the past couple of decades the Americans have sought to buy the Czech brewer. Currently, Budvar says there are active court battles in about a dozen countries, with simmering disputes in another 25 or so.

    "The lawsuits are exhausting in terms of both time and money," says Jiri Bocek, the Czech brewer’s CEO since 1991, who keeps a half-dozen bottles of American Budweiser on display in his office as a reminder of the dispute.
    "We would be happy to avoid them."

    InBev declined to comment on Mr Bocek’s assertions, but said it has ambitious plans to expand Budweiser globally, especially in Asia.

    Despite the continuing legal hassles, Mr Bocek says he expects the InBev-SAB deal to help Budvar gain at least a bit of ground on its giant rival. Mr Bocek, who served as an assistant brewer before working his way to the top, says consolidation will make global megabrands so indistinguishable that consumers will seek smaller niche beers with tradition, such as his.

    "We see this mega-merger as an opportunity," says Mr Bocek, who likens his company to "a large craft brewer."

    Ceske Budejovice has been home to breweries since the 13th century, and Mr Bocek’s company began using the Budweiser name in 1895. The company that would become Anheuser-Busch started brewing on the banks of the Mississippi in 1852, and in 1876 registered Budweiser as a trademark, though it had no connection to the Czech town or any other place called Budweis.

    For most of the 20th century, the two Budweisers coexisted based on agreements from 1911 and 1939, which gave the St Louis crew the rights to use the Budweiser trademark in North America and the Czechs most of Europe. But since those pacts were signed, Budvar has grown only modestly while Anheuser-Busch expanded from a local St Louis beer maker to a global powerhouse, which Belgium’s Inbev acquired in 2008 to create the world’s largest brewer. Budvar’s output today is about 0.3% of InBev’s.

    Like other large private enterprises in Czechoslovakia, Budvar was nationalised after the communists seized power in 1948. The company focused on exports as a source of much-needed hard currency for the centrally planned economy, and by the time communism collapsed in 1989, Budvar’s brand was well established abroad, especially in Eastern Europe. After the borders opened, Budvar started looking for more markets.

    That didn’t sit well with Anheuser-Busch. The Czech government — which never privatised the company, unlike most of the scores of other breweries in the country — rebuffed the Americans’ attempts to buy the brewery or the brand. So the US giant launched a series of court actions to prevent Budvar from using the Budweiser brand in various markets around the world, and eventually bought a smaller brewery in Ceske Budejovice to bolster its claim to the Budweiser name.

    Two decades and many millions of dollars in legal fees later, the results are inconclusive. InBev still rules North America, so Budvar has to call its beer there Czechvar, which sells for about twice the price of the American version. In Europe the Americans can use the Budweiser brand only in France, Spain and a handful of other places. The Czechs get to call their beer Budweiser in Germany, Austria and Italy, and across Eastern Europe and Russia.

    The UK is a special case: both companies are allowed to use the name. According to a 2011 ruling, the two products are so distinct that consumers can tell the difference.

    InBev called that decision "not the right solution" because parallel brand names are confusing.

    The conflict, while a distraction, may also have paid off for Budvar, says Lukas Lorenc, a partner at Cermak, a Prague law firm that handles the trademark battle. Without it, the company would be just another small Czech brewer seeking to build its brand abroad.

    "Budvar is definitely profiting from free publicity thanks to the fact that media pay attention to the trademark dispute," Mr Lorenc says, sliding the door of a wall-to-wall cabinet to reveal shelves stacked from floor to ceiling with files on the case.

    "It certainly keeps us busy."

    Mr Bocek remains optimistic, saying the brewer has increased output by 17% and pre-tax profit by 40% in the past five years. Touring the grounds of the brewery, redolent with the sweet smell of barley malt and the bitter scent of hops, he says production is running flat out. He points to an area of warehouses, which he says will be razed to make room for an expansion to boost capacity by about 15%.

    "Both sides know that it’s above all a fight for territory," Mr Bocek says.

    "We’re not happy to be embroiled in these lawsuits, but they’re not keeping us from expanding."
    26.10.2015   Australia: Coopers Brewery not really interested in expanding imported beers portfolio    ( )

    The managing director of Australia's third-largest beer company, Coopers Brewery, says there might not be room for any extra imported beer brands in his portfolio if any were to spring free in Australia from the proposed global A$146 billion merger of Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller, The Sydney Morning Herald reported on October 20.

    Tim Cooper says Coopers has been able to deliver solid growth from the Carlsberg brand and Kronenbourg 1664, which it took over from Foster's Group in 2012 under a licensing deal following the A$12.3 billion takeover of Foster's by SABMiller.

    "It's been growing every year," Dr Cooper said of the Carlsberg brand, which is the flagship imported brand.

    Coopers also has the Japanese brand Sapporo in its international portfolio.

    "They both keep us pretty busy," he said.

    Foster's surrendered the licences to Carlsberg, Corona and Stella Artois in the space of a few months after the takeover by SABMiller under change of control clauses. Arch rival Lion took on Corona, which is the No 1 imported beer in Australia and has 5.9 per cent of the total market by volume, and Stella Artois.

    The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says it will take into account a number of factors, including imported beer licensing deals, when assessing the Australian market in beer, and whether any competition issues arise from the proposed global merger.

    Dr Cooper said the company, the largest independently owned brewer in Australia, was watching the situation closely and would remain alert for any opportunities that might arise.

    "It's hard to know what potentially could fall out," he said.

    Mainstream beers are on the wane in Australia but the craft beer segment is growing at more than 20 per a year.

    Dr Cooper said the company, which makes beer from a large plant in the Adelaide industrial suburb of Regency Park, had a foot in both camps.

    "I think it's a reasonable spot to be in," he said. "The big guys look at us as being in the forefront of the craft beer movement in Australia."

    The international beers in the Coopers portfolio make up about 10 per cent of total volume.

    Coopers evaded the clutches of Lion, which makes Tooheys and XXXX Gold, in a bitterly fought takeover battle in 2005.
    19.10.2015   USA: AB InBev-SABMiller merger will hardly affect US beer distributors    ( )

    The world's largest brewers — Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller — announced earlier this week that they've agreed to merge, but the mega-deal likely won't have many impacts on the US beer distribution chain, South Bend Tribune reported on October 16.

    Analysts who follow the beer industry assume the merged company will need to sell its interest in MillerCoors, a joint venture between SABMiller and Molson Coors Brewing, to satisfy federal regulators' antitrust concerns. AB InBev and SABMiller, combined, already control 70 percent of the U.S. beer market.

    For that reason, local beer distributors aren't concerned about the merger affecting their businesses.

    "We do not anticipate major changes locally at all," said Jon Leetz, president of Indiana Beverage, a Valparaiso company that distributes MillerCoors beers and other products.

    "Because Anheuser-Busch is so big from an antitrust standpoint," Leetz said, "it is not likely that the Department of Justice would allow them to own SABMiller in the United States."

    The $106 billion merger isn't really about the U.S. market anyway.

    AB InBev's primary motivation for purchasing SABMiller is to gain access to beer drinkers in Africa, Latin America and other parts of the world. The merged company would control about a third of the global beer market.

    "I don't foresee anything changing at our business," said Steve Infalt, executive vice president at South Bend-based United Beverage Co., which is affiliated with Anheuser-Busch products.

    "This is mostly a global-positioning situation for Anheuser-Busch," Infalt said. "They're more interested, I believe, in Africa and South America and China."

    Infalt said the most likely outcome is that Denver-based Molson Coors, which already owns a 42 percent stake in MillerCoors, will buy SABMiller's remaining share of the joint venture. That scenario would give Molson Coors control over a quarter of U.S. beer sales and leave AB InBev with about 45 percent of the U.S. market.

    All of the large beer companies have been losing market share in recent years to small craft brewers — a trend that is playing out in Michiana as well. More than 20 small breweries are operating in northcentral Indiana and southwest Michigan, and many of those have opened in just the past few years.

    Craft beer accounted for 11 percent of U.S. beer sales in 2014, up from about 8 percent of sales in 2013, according to the Brewers Association.
    14.10.2015   SABMiller plc and Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV: Agreement in principle and extension of PUSU deadline    ( Company news )

    Company news The Boards of AB InBev (Euronext: ABI) (NYSE: BUD) and SABMiller (LSE: SAB) (JSE: SAB) announce that they have reached agreement in principle on the key terms of a possible recommended offer to be made by AB InBev for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of SABMiller (the "Possible Offer").

    Terms of Possible Offer
    Under the terms of the Possible Offer, SABMiller shareholders would be entitled to receive GBP 44.00 per share in cash, with a partial share alternative ("PSA") available for approximately 41% of the SABMiller shares.

    The all-cash offer represents a premium of approximately 50% to SABMiller's closing share price of GBP 29.34 on 14 September 2015 (being the last business day prior to renewed speculation of an approach from AB InBev).

    The PSA consists of 0.483969 unlisted shares and GBP 3.7788 in cash for each SABMiller share, equivalent to a value of GBP 39.03 per SABMiller share on 12 October 2015, representing a premium of approximately 33% to the closing SABMiller share price of GBP 29.34 as of 14 September 2015. Further details of the PSA are set out below.

    In addition, under the Possible Offer, SABMiller shareholders would be entitled to any dividends declared or paid by SABMiller in the ordinary course in respect of any completed six-month period ended 30 September or 31 March prior to completion of the possible transaction, which shall not exceed USD 0.2825 per share for the period ended 30 September 2015 and a further USD 0.9375 per share for the period ended 31 March 2016 (totalling USD 1.22 per share) and shall not exceed an amount to be agreed between AB InBev and SABMiller in respect of periods thereafter (which shall be disclosed in any announcement of a firm intention to make an offer).

    The Board of SABMiller has indicated to AB InBev that it would be prepared unanimously to recommend the all-cash offer of GBP 44.00 per SABMiller share to SABMiller shareholders, subject to their fiduciary duties and satisfactory resolution of the other terms and conditions of the Possible Offer.

    Antitrust and reverse break fee
    In connection with the Possible Offer, AB InBev would agree to a "best efforts" commitment to obtain any regulatory clearances required to proceed to closing of the transaction. In addition, AB InBev would agree to a reverse break fee of USD 3 billion payable to SABMiller in the event that the transaction fails to close as a result of the failure to obtain regulatory clearances or the approval of AB InBev shareholders.

    The announcement of a formal transaction would be subject to the following matters:

    a) unanimous recommendation by the Board of SABMiller in respect of the all-cash offer, and the execution of irrevocable undertakings to vote in favour of the transaction from members of the SABMiller Board, in a form acceptable to AB InBev;

    b) the execution of irrevocable undertakings to vote in favour of the transaction and to elect for the PSA from SABMiller's two major shareholders, Altria Group, Inc. and BevCo Ltd., in each case in respect of all of their shareholding and in a form acceptable to AB InBev and SABMiller;

    c) the execution of irrevocable undertakings to vote in favour of the transaction from AB InBev's largest shareholders, the Stichting Anheuser-Busch InBev, EPS Participations SaRL and BRC SaRL in a form acceptable to AB InBev and SABMiller;

    d) satisfactory completion of customary due diligence; and

    e) final approval by the Board of AB InBev.

    The Board of AB InBev fully supports the terms of this Possible Offer and expects (subject to the matters above) to give its formal approval immediately prior to announcement.

    AB InBev reserves the right to waive in whole or in part any of the pre-conditions to making an offer set out in this announcement, other than c) above which will not be waived.

    The conditions of the transaction will be customary for a combination of this nature, and will include approval by both companies' shareholders and receipt of antitrust and regulatory approvals.

    In view of the timetable for obtaining some of these approvals, AB InBev envisages proceeding by way of a pre-conditional scheme of arrangement in accordance with the Code.

    The cash consideration under the transaction would be financed through a combination of AB InBev's internal financial resources and new third party debt.

    Further details of the PSA
    The PSA comprises up to 326 million shares, which will be available for approximately 41% of the SABMiller shares. These shares would take the form of a separate class of AB InBev shares (the "Restricted Shares")1, with the following characteristics:
    -Unlisted and not admitted to trading on any stock exchange;
    -Subject to a five-year lock-up from closing;
    -Convertible into AB InBev ordinary shares on a one for one basis after the end of that five year period;
    -Ranking equally with AB InBev ordinary shares with regards to dividends and voting rights; and
    -Director nomination rights.

    SABMiller shareholders who elect for the partial share alternative will receive 0.483969 Restricted Shares2 and GBP 3.7788 in cash for each SABMiller share.

    Extension of the PUSU deadline
    In accordance with Rule 2.6(a) of the Code, AB InBev was required, by not later than 5.00 pm on 14 October 2015, to either announce a firm intention to make an offer for SABMiller in accordance with Rule 2.7 of the Code or announce that it does not intend to make an offer for SABMiller, in which case the announcement will be treated as a statement to which Rule 2.8 of the Code applies.

    In accordance with Rule 2.6(c) of the Code, the Board of SABMiller has requested that the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers (the "Panel") extends the relevant deadline, as referred to above, to enable the parties to continue their talks regarding the Possible Offer. In the light of this request, an extension has been granted by the Panel and AB InBev must, by not later than 5.00 pm on 28 October 2015, either announce a firm intention to make an offer for SABMiller in accordance with Rule 2.7 of the Code or announce that it does not intend to make an offer for SABMiller, in which case the announcement will be treated as a statement to which Rule 2.8 of the Code applies. This deadline will only be extended with the consent of the Panel in accordance with Rule 2.6(c) of the Code.

    AB InBev reserves the following rights:
    a) to introduce other forms of consideration and/or to vary the composition of consideration;

    b) to implement the transaction through or together with a subsidiary of AB InBev or NewCo or a company which will become a subsidiary of AB InBev or NewCo;

    c) to make an offer (including the all-cash offer and PSA) for SABMiller at any time on less favourable terms:

    (i) with the agreement or recommendation of the Board of SABMiller;

    (ii) if a third party announces a firm intention to make an offer for SABMiller on less favourable terms; or

    (iii) following the announcement by SABMiller of a whitewash transaction pursuant to the Code; and

    d) to reduce its offer (including the all-cash offer and PSA) by the amount of any dividend that is announced, declared, made or paid by SABMiller prior to completion, save for ordinary course dividends declared or paid prior to completion, which shall not exceed USD 0.2825 per share for the period ended 30 September 2015 and a further USD 0.9375 per share for the period ended 31 March 2016 (totalling USD 1.22 per share) and shall not exceed an amount to be agreed between AB InBev and SABMiller in respect of periods thereafter (which shall be disclosed in any announcement of a firm intention to make an offer).

    The announcement does not constitute an offer or impose any obligation on AB InBev to make an offer, nor does it evidence a firm intention to make an offer within the meaning of the Code. There can be no certainty that a formal offer will be made.
    (SABMiller plc)
    15.09.2015   SABMiller appoints Group Human Resources Director    ( Company news )

    Company news SABMiller has appointed Johann Nel as Group Human Resources Director with effect from 14 September 2015, in succession to Tony van Kralingen, whose intended retirement was announced in April 2015.
    Johann is currently running his own human resources and organisational design consulting practice, and was previously SABMiller’s Human Resources Director from 2002 until he retired from the group in 2008.

    Alan Clark, Chief Executive, said:
    “I'm really pleased to welcome such a capable executive as Johann back to SABMiller. Johann previously made a significant contribution to the group, and his extensive experience in leading organisational design and change management will serve us well as we continue to build a globally integrated organisation to optimise resource, win in market and reduce costs.”

    As announced in April, Tony van Kralingen’s current role as Director of Integrated Supply and Human Resources is being split into two new positions on SABMiller’s Executive Committee. Tony will continue as Director of Integrated Supply, pending the appointment of his successor, and as a member of the group’s Executive Committee until his intended retirement at the end of December 2015.
    (SABMiller plc)
    12.08.2015   South Sudan: SABMiller may be forced to halt operations in South Sudan    ( )

    SABMiller Plc may be forced to halt operations in South Sudan unless it’s able to access foreign currency and fuel needed to run the business, Bloomberg reported on August 1.

    “If we don’t get access to raw materials and the lack of hard currency continues, we may do so, but we are saying not now or in the near future,” George Nisbet, finance director at Southern Sudan Beverages Ltd., of SSBL, said by phone Saturday from the capital, Juba.

    Fighting between government and rebel forces that erupted in South Sudan in December 2013 has left tens of thousands of people dead and more than 2 million displaced, according to the United Nations. President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar have failed to reach an agreement on ending the conflict despite months of negotiations.

    SABMiller, the world’s second-biggest brewer, built the first brewery in South Sudan. The manufacturing began producing brands including White Bull and Nile Special in 2009. Africa accounts for about 31 percent of total revenue, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

    SSBL is scaling back operations and sending some staff on leave as it tries to deal with the shortages, Managing Director Carlos Gomez told reporters during a tour of the company’s facilities in Juba. The company depends entirely on imported raw materials like diesel to run its machines and foreign suppliers are reluctant to extend credit further, he said.

    “Our suppliers, they have been very good and have supported us over many years, but our credit to them has in some cases been beyond the limit and there is no appetite from them as foreign suppliers to continue taking risk by extending credit to us,” Gomez said. “They are nervous because of the possibility of us not being able to pay them in forex.”

    Inflation has surged in South Sudan because of the conflict. Consumer prices jumped 61.2 percent from a year earlier in June after declining 1.3 percent in January. While the official exchange rate has remained stable at 2.95 per dollar, on the black market it changes hands at about 12.5 per dollar from 3.5 in January.

    SSBL employs 405 staff, more than 100 casual laborers and directly services 3,000 customers, according to Gomez.

    While the company has been able to place people on enforced vacation, “if there comes a time that this issue is not resolved quickly, the leave will run out and then we shall have to make more difficult decisions which we really don’t want to do.”
    28.07.2015   SABMiller confirms Domenic De Lorenzo as Chief Financial Officer    ( Company news )

    Company news The board of SABMiller plc intends to appoint Domenic De Lorenzo (photo) as an executive director and as Chief Financial Officer with effect from the conclusion of the forthcoming annual general meeting, to be held on 23 July 2015.

    Domenic, currently Director of Group Strategy and Corporate Development and a member of the Group’s executive committee, has been the acting Chief Financial Officer since 19 February 2015.

    John Manser, Chairman, said: “The board considered a number of high quality internal and external candidates, and concluded that Domenic was the best-qualified for the role. He has a strong track record in his previous positions within the group, which has given him deep experience of developing our business and our people, and shaping our strategy. He is a highly capable executive and will be a valuable addition to the board.”

    Alan Clark, Chief Executive, said: “Dom proved an outstanding candidate for appointment as chief financial officer and will hit the ground running after a strong five months acting in the role. He has quickly made a positive impact and built a high level of credibility and community in our finance team, and with our senior business leaders, our executive committee, and our board. I look forward to continuing to work with Dom as we pursue our vision to make SABMiller the most admired beverage company in the world.”

    Domenic De Lorenzo assumed responsibility in August 2014 for group strategy alongside his previous responsibilities as Director of Corporate Finance and Development. He is a chartered accountant by training, and has been closely involved in the Group’s finance strategy since his appointment to the Group’s executive committee in 2011. He is a 19-year veteran of the group, having originally joined SABMiller's corporate finance team in 1996 from UAL Investment Bank in South Africa. During his career with SABMiller, he has been involved in many of its key transactions, including Pilsner Urquell, Miller Brewing Company, Peroni, Bavaria, Grolsch, the formation of the MillerCoors joint venture and the Foster’s acquisition.

    Domenic De Lorenzo is not currently a director of any listed company. There is no information required to be disclosed pursuant to LR 9.6.13 (1) to (6) of the Listing Rules.
    -Domenic’s remuneration on appointment as an executive director will be set in accordance with the company’s approved remuneration policy. Further details will be disclosed following confirmation of his appointment on 23 July 2015 after a board meeting to be held that day.
    -In accordance with the company’s articles of association, Domenic will submit himself for election by shareholders at the company’s next annual general meeting in July 2016.
    (SABMiller plc)
    27.07.2015   World: SABMiller could attract larger AB InBev bid if it sells its stake in MillerCoors - analysts    ( )

    In the flurry of speculation over a possible acquisition of beer giant SABMiller by fellow brewing behemoth Anheuser-Busch InBev, many analysts assumed AB InBev would have to sell SABMiller’s stake in MillerCoors to make the deal palatable to regulators, St. Louis Business Journal posted on July 21.

    But not if SABMiller beats them to the punch.

    That idea was recently put forth by Harry Schuhmacher of Beer Business Daily. In a recent note, long time beverage industry analyst Caroline Levy of investment banking firm CLSA describes the idea of a pre-emptive sell-off of MillerCoors by SABMiller as “interesting” and writes that it could help the brewer negotiate a better price for itself if AB InBev ever does come calling with an offer.

    SABMiller owns a 58 percent stake in MillerCoors, the second biggest beer player in the U.S. market. A tie up with AB InBev, owner of the Budweiser brands, would combine the two largest U.S. players, which is why common wisdom has held that SABMiller’s stake in MillerCoors would have to be sold.

    But as Levy describes Schuhmacher’s thinking, if SABMillers sells its stake on its own, "it would have better leverage to negotiate an attractive price than in the forced sale that would come about in a potential ABI acquisition of SAB, with the incremental proceeds to SAB itself.”

    Levy points out that the risk to SABMiller comes if a buyout never comes from AB InBev. In that case, SABMiller would be left without a cash generator in the U.S.

    The merger buzz around AB InBev and SABMiller has died down considerably since its height last fall. Many pronounced the deal doomed after Brazilian private equity firm 3G announced in March a merger deal with Heinz-Kraft, whose size, analysts said, would make a deal for SABMiller financially difficult. 3G Capital co-founder Jorge Paulo Lemann is a board member and controlling shareholder in AB InBev. Morningstar analyst Philip Gorham wrote at the time, “We think it is unlikely that 3G would be willing and able to execute simultaneously on two substantial deals both from a financial and strategic perspective.”

    Analysts have thrown out various possibilities for an alternate mega merger for AB InBev, which is based in Belgium and has its North American headquarter in St. Louis. Among the alternatives discussed are liquor-and-beer seller Diageo and soft drink giant Pepsi.
    27.07.2015   World: SABMiller working on PET bottle that can increase beer shelf life    ( )

    Since September 2012, beer maker SABMiller has engaged with Trinity College Dublin to pursue research on a new type of PET bottle that can increase the shelf life of beer and keep it ‘fresh’, reported on July 21.

    Although the technology is being developed, the brewer believes commercialization will take another five years.

    Further, the brewer has also roped in CRANN – a nanoscience institute at the university to develop a new nanomaterial. The nanomaterial can stop oxygen ingress and the escape of CO2 which can prolong the shelf life of beer in plastic bottles.

    When this nanomaterial is added to plastic bottles, it makes them more impervious. This also aids in cost saving in terms of quantity of material required for manufacturing, and reduces the environmental impact of PET bottles.

    PET bottles for beer has been well received by customers due to its ease of use, lightweight and reclosable.
    28.05.2015   UK: SABMiller acquires London-based craft brewer Meantime    ( )

    SABMiller plc , the world's second-largest brewer has decided to buy a piece of the UK craft beer market, with the acquisition of London-based company Meantime Brewing, The Telegraph reported on May 15.

    SABMiller said the acquisition gave it "an entry point into the fastest-growing segment of the UK beer market" and would complement its Peroni and Pilsner offerings.

    The international drinks giant said that it planned to expand Meantime's sales nationally and export its brews to European markets. Nick Miller, CEO of Meantime, will continue to lead the company, which producers London Pale Ale and London Lager.

    Sue Clark, managing director of SABMiller Europe, said: "Nick Miller, Alastair Hook and their team have built a strong sense of pride and identity within Meantime, which has an excellent reputation for brewing consistently high quality beers and for industry-leading innovation."

    "This expertise will boost our strategy to develop beers that appeal to more people, including women, and which can be attractive alternatives to wine and spirits," she added.

    The announcement came in the same week that SABMiller's chief executive, admitted that lager marketing had often been "insulting" to women.

    The FTSE 100 chief said that industry advertising "for many years was either dismissive of, or insulting to, women”.
    It had often been associated “with groups of young men... and with a high volume of consumption”, he said. Women were “either not present at all or entered as the butt of a joke”, Mr Clark added.

    Mr Miller said: "I can say from personal experience, that SABMiller is a great company to be joining forces with. They see the opportunity, and believe in the longevity, of modern craft beer in the UK."

    "The team at SABMiller have stressed how important our culture is to our success to date, and have a strong track record in retaining the special identities and heritage of the local businesses they've bought in the past," he added.

    Meantime's beer sales by volume grew by 58pc in 2014, outstripping the wider UK market's growth of 1pc in the same period.

    Mr Clark said on May 13 that SABMiller would "continue to invest in our brands, including reinvigorating our high-volume core lagers so they remain relevant for today's millennial consumers".

    He also said that the company would attempt to broaden beer's appeal "so it's the drink of choice for more people on a greater variety of occasions".

    The acquisition of Meantime is expected to complete in early June 2015.
    19.05.2015   Sabmiller FY15 Q4 Trading Update    ( Company news )

    Company news SABMiller plc issues its trading update for the 12 months ended 31 March 2015.

    Alan Clark (photo), Chief Executive of SABMiller, said:
    “Our topline performance was strong in the final quarter, driven by double digit revenue growth in Africa and sustained growth in Latin America. Asia Pacific also returned to growth during the last three months of the year as lager volumes in China returned to growth. In the final quarter our revenues grew by 6%, repeating the strength of the first quarter, while full year revenue growth of 4% was driven by revenue per hectolitre growth in all regions”.

    Full year and fourth quarter highlights
    -Group net producer revenue (NPR) for the full year grew by 4%, with total beverage volume growth of 1%
    -Lager volume for the year was in line with prior, with growth in Africa and Latin America offset by volume weakness in China and North America
    -Lager volumes increased by 2% in the fourth quarter reflecting a strong performance led by South Africa and a recovery in volume growth in China
    -Continuing growth in soft drinks across the group, with volumes up 8% for the year and the fourth quarter, driven by Africa and Latin America

    Latin America

    Firm NPR growth through lager affordability and premiumisation, supported by soft drinks growth
    In Latin America, group NPR grew by 7%, with beverage volume growth of 3% reflecting soft drinks volume growth of 8% and lager volume growth of 1%. Lager volumes grew by 3% in the final quarter due to a strong performance ahead of Easter, particularly in Peru and Ecuador, together with affordability initiatives in Central America. In Colombia, group NPR growth of 6% reflected selective price increases and beverage volume growth of 2%, buoyed by strong non-alcoholic malt volume growth. Lager volumes were in line with the prior year, with continued growth in our above mainstream brand Aguila Light and bulk packs, together with strong performance in our premium brands, Club Colombia and Miller Lite, offsetting softer performance from mainstream brands. In Peru, group NPR grew by 5% driven by beverage volume growth of 4%. Lager volumes increased by 2% with our above mainstream brand Pilsen Callao achieving double digit growth, with consumers continuing to trade up from mainstream, more than offsetting a decline in our premium Cusqeña brand. In Ecuador, group NPR growth of 10% was underpinned by price increases in the latter half of the prior year, and the continuing robust growth of our above mainstream brand Pilsener Light which drove lager volume growth of 2%. In Central America, group NPR grew by 5% driven by beverage volume growth. Our affordability strategy supported lager volume growth of 2% against a backdrop of increased competition and difficult trading conditions.

    Balanced portfolio driving strong top line growth
    Group NPR in Africa grew by 9% reflecting beverage volume growth of 5% combined with selective pricing and continued premiumisation in lager. Lager volumes grew by 4% for the full year aided by a strong fourth quarter which benefited from the timing of Easter and cycling weaker trading. In South Africa, group NPR growth of 9% was underpinned by positive lager brand mix enhanced by premium innovations, modest lager price increases across selected bulk and convenience packs and strong Easter trading performance. In Tanzania, group NPR grew by 6% driven by price increases in the first half of the year, together with growth in Castle Lite and the spirits portfolio, while lager volumes were down 7% reflecting excise-related and other pricing taken in July 2014. Group NPR in Mozambique grew by 22% supported by successful in-trade execution and our dual focus on premiumisation, through Castle Lite, and affordability, through our cassava-based lager, Impala, which both grew volumes ahead of the portfolio. Zambia group NPR grew by 3% reflecting price increases in both lager and soft drinks and growth in soft drinks volumes. Lager volumes declined by 8% in the year but recovered in the final quarter as a result of having cycled the excise-related price increases taken in January 2014, together with price reductions in the final quarter of the financial year. In Nigeria, group NPR growth remained strong, with volume growth supported by incremental capacity. Challenges persist in Zimbabwe due to the economic environment and group NPR was down 5%. Castel delivered mid-single digit group NPR growth in line with volume growth. Soft drinks volume growth of 9% in Africa was driven by all countries except Zimbabwe, with South Africa and our associate Castel performing particularly well.
    Asia Pacific

    Group NPR growth driven by China, reflecting continuing premiumisation
    Asia Pacific group NPR was up 1% compared with the prior year. The beverage volume decline of 2% was offset by group NPR per hl growth of 3%, reflecting premiumisation in China as well as a change in the relative weighting of volumes in Australia compared with China. In Australia, group NPR declined by 2%, reflecting a volume decline of 1%. Group NPR per hl was marginally lower than the prior year, with improved trends in the second half of the year reflecting price increases, together with positive momentum in the contemporary and premium segments, which largely offset the increased trade investment activity in the first half of the year. In China, group NPR grew by 2% as a 3% volume decline was offset by continued premiumisation, driving group NPR per hl growth of 5%. A return to volume growth in the final quarter in the northeast and west, together with an improved trend in the key central region, partially offset the impact of adverse weather conditions during the peak summer months. In India, group NPR grew by 6%, reflecting price increases across several states.

    Volume and group NPR per hl improvements deliver group NPR growth
    In Europe, group NPR grew by 2%, with an increase in group NPR per hl of 1%. Total beverage volume grew by 1% with lager volumes level with prior year. In the integrated Czech Republic and Slovakia business, group NPR was up by 4% with volume growth of 5% reflecting market outperformance in both channels and boosted by Easter trading, although channel mix was adverse as off-premise grew ahead of the more profitable on-premise channel. In Poland, volumes grew by 2%, although group NPR declined by 2% due to higher investment in promotions, especially during the peak season, together with adverse pack and channel mix. In the United Kingdom, group NPR grew by 4% driven by the continued strong performance of Peroni Nastro Azzurro due to improved rate of sale, increased distribution in key outlets and assisted by good weather. Group NPR declined by 1% in Italy in line with the volume decline, reflecting the impact of adverse weather in the summer months. Anadolu Efes’ delivered group NPR growth. Total beverage volume growth was driven by soft drinks, offsetting a decline in lager volumes which continued to be impacted by the uncertain market conditions in Russia and Ukraine.
    North America

    Group NPR per hl growth through pricing and sales mix
    North America group NPR was in line with the prior year, driven by MillerCoors. MillerCoors’ volumes were lower, offset by improved group NPR per hl driven by higher net pricing and favourable brand mix. US domestic sales to retailers (STRs) declined by 2.3% for the full year and 2.7% in the fourth quarter. For the full year, both Coors Light and Miller Lite STRs declined by low single digits. Total above premium brands grew mid-single digits for the full year, driven primarily by double-digit growth of the Redd’s franchise. In the fourth quarter, above premium STRs declined low-single digits as improved growth in the Blue Moon franchise and the Leinenkugel’s portfolio was offset by the double-digit decline of Miller Fortune which cycled its launch in February 2014. The below premium portfolio declined mid-single digits as growth in Steel Reserve and the continuing positive performance of its “Alloy” series was offset by declines across the rest of the portfolio. Domestic sales to wholesalers (STWs) declined by 2.4% on a full year basis, with a 2.5% decline in the fourth quarter.
    (SABMiller plc)
    22.04.2015   Spain & India: Mahou-San Miguel to invest nearly Rs 120 crore in Indian business    ( )

    Spain's largest brewer Mahou-San Miguel plans to invest nearly Rs 120 crore in India to market its eponymous brand along with local beer Dare Devil in an effort to make the country one of its largest markets globally, The Economic Times reported on April 17.

    The company, which controls more than a third of Spanish beer market, entered India three years ago by acquiring 50 per cent stake in Arian Breweries. Last year, it acquired the remaining stake to set up its first subsidiary and distillery outside Spain.

    "Once we started looking at our global expansion plans, India became an important factor," said Erik D'Auchamp, chief executive officer at Mahou India.

    For Mahou-San Miguel, international markets contribute nearly 13 per cent to its annual revenues of 1.2 billion, or about Rs 7,950 crore. D'Auchamp said the company aims to scale that up to 20 per cent in the next five years. "India is a really an important part of that plan," he said. After a heady double-digit growth last decade, beer sales in India grew less than 3 per cent last fiscal, similar to several other consumer goods segments as shoppers cut back on discretionary spending.

    Yet, several companies are investing on aggressive product launches and packaging innovations. For instance, SABMiller launched Miller Ace and UB launched Heineken beer in cans.

    Since strong beer comprises 80 per cent of the Indian beer market, companies are taking super premium strong beer to more consumers.

    Both the existing brands of Mahou-San Miguel are in the strong segment. "We are also looking at launching lighter brand Mahou Clasica, super premium beer brand Alhambra and even spring water from our global portfolio over time," D'Auchamp said.

    Most global brewers are looking to boost their presence in fast-growing emerging markets such as India. Asia, which accounts for 35 per cent of global beer consumption, is the largest regional beer market.

    "In the next five years, it is estimated that Indian beer market will be 35 million cases, bigger than the Spanish market by then. So there is room for existing players and also for newcomers," D'Auchamp said.
    08.04.2015   EU: European companies under pressure to display nutritional labels on alcoholic drinks    ( )

    Nutritional labelling on alcoholic drinks could become the norm after four of the world’s biggest brewers backed plans to add calorie counts to their products in Europe, reported Wall Street Journal, March 26.

    The Brewers of Europe, a trade body representing beer makers across the continent, said members soon would begin listing nutritional information on their brands. Anheuser-Busch InBev SA, SABMiller PLC, Heineken NV and Carlsberg A/S were among those to endorse the proposal. Some of them planned to start of 26th of March.

    Alcohol producers are coming under pressure to follow the food industry by providing more detail on nutrition, especially in developed markets where consumers increasingly make health-based decisions.

    In 2014, 71% of Americans said "healthfulness" was a consideration when buying foods and beverages, up from 58% in 2010, says the International Food Information Council Foundation.

    Diageo, the world’s biggest alcoholic beverages company, said it would begin offering per-serving calorie counts on products including Smirnoff vodka and Guinness.

    Labels could hit stores in the US within two months, it said. Some beer companies already list nutritional information on their websites — SABMiller has done so since 2008 — but the new plans commit the companies to providing uniform breakdowns for all products sold in the European Union (EU), including calorie, fat, carbohydrate and salt content per 100ml of liquid.

    Brewers say their intention is to provide drinkers with more information. Some 6% of European consumers knew the number of calories in 100ml of regular-strength beer, according to a new survey by German market-research firm GfK.

    But industry analysts say the move is an attempt to get ahead of European regulators after recent crackdowns on high-sugar drinks and fatty foods. Current EU law exempts alcoholic beverages above 1.2% alcohol content from having to provide a list of ingredients, or any nutritional information.

    "If you’re not open about it, it might come back to haunt you," said François Sonneville, a senior beverage analyst at Rabobank.

    Under the European proposals, the companies will decide how much detail to provide on labels and how much to give online.

    The minimum will be an on-pack link to a website for a full breakdown, but many brands will display labels with full nutritional information on their packaging, according to Pierre-Olivier Bergeron, secretary-general of the Brewers of Europe.

    "There has to be a means to clearly connect with the consumer from the label," Mr Bergeron said.

    Carlsberg, the world’s fifth-largest brewer by volume, said its namesake brand would include a nutritional label on products sold in Western Europe by the end of the year.

    "We’re proud of the beers we brew and the ingredients we use to produce them, and this will help consumers understand beer better."

    Not all drinks companies support using nutritional labels.

    A spokeswoman for Pernod Ricard SA, the world’s second-biggest distiller by sales, said the company wasn’t opposed to displaying calorie content online or through mobile apps, but "labelling wasn’t the most suitable platform."
    26.02.2015   World: Carlsberg names new CEO as from June 2015    ( )

    Danish brewer Carlsberg named a new chief executive on February 18 and warned that problems in Russia and Ukraine would weigh on earnings again this year.

    Dutchman Cees 't Hart, the head of dairy company FrieslandCampina, will become Carlsberg chief executive in June. He replaces Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen who turns 60 this year and had told the board that he wanted to take a step back into non-executive roles.

    "It's a decision we both agreed upon is the right thing for Carlsberg, and also right for Jorgen to move on in his non-executive career," Chairman Flemming Besenbacher told reporters.

    For seven years Rasmussen has fought a tough battle as sales in Russia, Carlsberg's main market after the acquisition of the Baltika brand in 2004, had been affected by tighter regulations and more recently a sanctions-hit economy.

    "Maybe his energy has been exhausted, and this change will definitely bring a breath of fresh air into the company," analyst Morten Imsgard from Sydbank said.

    New CEO 't Hart has run FrieslandCampina, one of the world's largest dairy companies, for six years and steered the group through a large merger and substantial growth in Asia, a key focus area for Carlsberg as well.

    Prior to that he had worked for consumer goods company Unilever for 25 years.

    Carlsberg reported a 22 percent fall in fourth-quarter operating profit, hit by 32 percent lower sales in Eastern Europe mainly due to problems in Russia.

    Operating profit before special items dropped to 1.79 billion crowns ($276 million) from 2.3 billion crowns a year earlier, missing analysts' forecasts for 1.93 billion crowns. Its shares fell two percent.

    The world's fourth largest brewer expects underlying operating profit to grow by less than 10 percent this year when its eastern European operations will again act as a brake.

    "While we expect our Western Europe and Asia regions to continue their positive development, the expected GDP decline and currency devaluation in Russia and Ukraine will put significant pressure on the group's overall performance," Carlsberg said.

    Carlsberg's large global competitors, Anheuser-Busch InBev, SABMiller and Heineken, are less dependent on the Russian market than the Danish brewer.

    Carlsberg said in January that it had decided to close down two of its 10 breweries in Russia, a market that has declined more than 30 percent since 2008.

    However, outgoing CEO Rasmussen told reporters that leaving Russia was not an option for Carlsberg.
    31.10.2014   SABMiller CEO Alan Clark sets out long-term vision for superior growth    ( Company news )

    Company news At an investor seminar in London, Alan Clark (photo), Chief Executive SABMiller plc, outlined the company’s long term strategy for growth, including plans to expand beer’s appeal in mature markets. Nick Fell, Marketing Director SABMiller plc, covered the brewer’s plans to build a position for beer outside its traditional role as the favourite drink for men in pubs and bars, with flavours and styles that attract more consumers on more occasions.

    Alan Clark said: “SABMiller has always been about strong growth and performance. To ensure we continue on this trajectory in the future, we’ve sharpened our strategy to focus on three key elements: driving superior topline growth, becoming more efficient and concentrating on the highest growth opportunities.
    “Our long experience of operating in emerging markets means we are well-positioned to capture the opportunities from these high-growth markets. But in the more mature and fragmented markets, we need a new approach. We have a long-term vision to push out the boundaries of the beer category, appealing to more consumers on more occasions through innovation and challenging traditional perceptions of beer."

    Nick Fell said: “We know there’s untapped potential in beer and it’s time to change the image of beer as just a drink for guys watching sport. Why shouldn’t beer be a great choice with food or something that has much more appeal for women?
    “Achieving this will take time but it can be done. Just look at coffee. What was previously a one-dimensional drink has become everything from an inexpensive cup of instant at home to a premium-priced speciality drink in a coffee shop with a huge range of exotic flavours and styles. We have the same opportunity and vision for beer.
    “We are already seeing good results from strengthening our core lager brands and expanding our portfolios into new areas such as radlers, flavoured beers and ciders. Our new strategy for beer takes us further. We believe our unrivalled local market insights - as the most local of the global brewers - combined with our size and scale will allow us to really shape the future of beer in new and interesting ways.”

    Chris Ritchie, MD for SABMiller in Panama, and Andrew Highcock, MD for SABMiller in Poland presented case studies, illustrating how plans to expand the beer category will work in their markets.
    Mr Clark, Mr Fell, Mr Ritchie and Mr Highcock will deliver their seminar again tomorrow, October 7th, in New York.

    Highlights from the presentations
    Alan Clark
    Strategic choices:
    -Drive superior topline growth with an insight-based long-term growth strategy for the beer category:
    -Extending occasions when consumers may choose beer;
    -Offering beers as alternatives to wine and spirits;
    -Improving premium mix;
    -Ensuring affordability in emerging markets
    -Liberate resources to win in market and reduce costs:
    -Cost reduction and efficiency programmes, including the introduction of global business service centres; enhancements across global supply chain; and increased scope of SABMiller Procurement
    -These programmes liberate resources to re-invest in front-line execution
    -Shape global footprint to contribute to superior growth
    -Focus resources on highest growth opportunities
    -Where the right opportunities arise M&A remains a core component of growth strategy
    -Deliver superior performance in soft drinks operations, where SABMiller has an increasing focus as a complement to beer operations

    Nick Fell
    SABMiller beer category strategy:
    -Beer currently has the largest value share at 28% of the global packaged beverages universe
    -To date, beer’s heartland has been masculine consumer occasions. To grow share of the global packaged beverages space, beer must become increasingly relevant to a broader range of consumers on more occasions

    Long-term strategy to achieve this:
    -Define consumer occasions to target, using deep local consumer insights; identify those where beer is underrepresented, e.g. evening meal occasions, formal and informal mixed-gender occasions, family relax occasions, etc.
    -Understand the benefits consumers are seeking from drinks on these occasions, including taste, premium feel, affordability, packaging, etc.
    -Align a beer beverage that will meet these criteria, delivering the benefits that suit a specific occasion
    -This will include positioning of new and existing styles of beer using new and existing brands and packaging, with a focus on premiumisation, e.g. radlers, ciders, wheat beers, sharing packs, etc.
    (SABMiller plc)
    22.10.2014   USA: Legalization of medical marijuana helps beer sales    ( )

    The legalization of medical marijuana has helped beer sales, contrary to previous research that pointed to a decline, according to a note from Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Trevor Stirling.

    Recreational pot use in the two states where it’s legal has so far not had a “significant impact” on beer, he was quoted as saying by Bloomberg on October 10.

    “The average blue-collar Bud drinker is less likely to be smoking pot,” Stirling said. “As far as medical marijuana is concerned, it does not appear to be a big threat to the beer industry.”

    The research could relieve one concern for beermakers Anheuser-Busch InBev NV and SABMiller Plc, which have seen U.S. volume decline over the past five years due to high unemployment and a shift to spirits like bourbon and gin. Twenty-three states have allowed medical marijuana and about a dozen, from Florida to Alaska, are considering legalization in some form.

    Per-capita beer drinking had a one-time increase of about 0.5 percent in the 10 largest states that have legalized medical marijuana, the Bernstein analyst found. While beer consumption later declined in those states, the rate of decline slowed to become more in line with the national average.

    “There may be a ’constrained budget’ effect for some consumers, but legalized recreational weed is likely to lead to lower prices in the long term, potentially freeing up more cash either for more weed or more beer,” Stirling said.

    Bernstein’s research contrasts with an October 2012 study by professors at Montana State University, the University of Oregon and the University of Colorado Denver. It found that alcohol sales declined about 5 percent in states that legalized medical marijuana, “suggesting that marijuana and alcohol are substitutes,” especially among young adults, the authors said.

    States that have legalized weed in some form including Colorado also have the highest rates of craft beer production, Stirling said, and some craft brewers have “whole-heartedly embraced the weed counter-culture.” One brewer, Oskar Blues Brewing Co. of North Carolina, indicates on some of its beer cans where they might be punctured in order to turn the can into a bong for smoking cannabis.

    A Pew Research center survey published in April shows 75 percent of the population thinks marijuana’s sale and use will eventually be legal nationwide.
    22.10.2014   World: SABMiller convinced it has the right marketing brew to woo female consumers    ( )

    Tapping the female market has long been the Holy Grail for beer marketers in an industry desperately in need of extending its consumer base. Despite many high profile failures, the world’s second largest brewer SABMiller is convinced it has the right marketing brew to woo women, Marketing Week reported on October 7.

    The Peroni maker says shifting the image of beer among females could take up to 20 years but believes there is an untapped thirst that has been ignored to date. SABMiller sees female drinkers as a key beneficiary of its wider bid to attract more consumers on more occasions through a mix of innovation, packaging and advertising.

    Future attempts will revolve around more flavoursome beers, which make use of the 86 per cent hops SABMiller claims are not used by the industry, alongside marketing that pushes six distinctive experiences; family occasions such as BBQs, mixed gender casual parties, mixed gender casual meals, mixed gender evening meals, colleagues socialising and men together in bars.

    At an event for analysts in London this week, Nick Fell, marketing director at SABMiller, says unlocking those consumers and occasions will flow from distribution, packaging and tie-ups with local retailers and is not be “hidden in the gift of some genius that can write a 30-second TV adverts”. For example, coffee was previously a “one dimensional drink” that went on to become everything from an inexpensive cup of instant to a premium-priced specialty drink in a coffee shop through promoting “enhanced experiences” and premium price points, he adds.

    The expansion drive will start within six months with smaller efforts before bigger beer launches and campaigns come to the fore from 2016 onwards. There will be failures in this window, admits SABMiller, and the more successful efforts will be adapted from their local test markets to run in other regions.

    Fell says: “We’re confident of a shift in lager over the next five years to lager being more appropriate in mixed gender occasions. If we’re not seeing some movement in the next three to five years, at least in some markets, then we’re doing something wrong.

    “No one wants a pink beer, including ladies. I’m sure that we’ll make many mistakes over the next five years but hopefully that will not be one of them. There are large parts of the world where beer advertising is offensive to women and I don’t think it makes a very good case for the male gender. We need to be focusing on getting people to think about the occasion they can drink. If the strategy is executed properly then you’ll notice differences in the way beer is advertised over the next five to 10 years, particularly in mature markets.”

    Investments are to be funded in part by cost-cutting measures designed to free up $500 mln by March 2018. Incremental increases to the company’s marketing budget as a percentage of sales will fund additional elements of the strategy.

    SABMiller, which is made up of local brands rather than truly global players, hopes upcoming launches bolster its premium mix in order to convince consumers to pay more for newer alternatives. While increased volumes will flow eventually, the business is banking on efforts to have a faster impact on value sales as it looks to snare share from wine and spirits.

    “The industry have been brilliant at delivering affordable, high quality mainstream beers to beer guys and we’ve got a job to do think our way to another model”, says Fell.

    Spiros Malandrakis, senior analyst for alcoholic drinks at Euromonitor, says the need for female beer drinkers is fuelled by the fact that brewers “do not have any more room for growth” among their core working class male demographic. Beer Value sales in the UK and Western Europe are expected to rise slightly from £9.6 bln and £35.5 bln respectively to £9.7 bln and £36 bln by 2018, according to Euromonitor.

    “The big brewers know they’re operating in a saturated market and the only options left has been for them to extend major brands based on flavour sophistication or by adding different mixers”, says Malandrakis.

    “Females represent another outlet but previous efforts have come undone by simplistic thinking that has been patronising and specifically aimed at them. It’s not just about looking at the beer category through the prism of a female approach. A man still needs to easily be able to go to the bar and order one.”
    06.08.2014   SABMiller F15 Q1 Trading Update    ( Company news )

    Company news SABMiller plc issues its Interim Management Statement for the group’s first quarter ended 30 June 2014.

    Alan Clark (photo), Chief Executive of SABMiller, commented:
    We continued to drive strong NPR growth across our businesses. This has been achieved through our prolonged success in building local and global flagship brands across our broad geographic footprint, together with innovations and improved trade execution. Strong growth in Africa, South Africa and Europe was balanced by slower momentum in North America and a reduction in NPR in Australia in difficult trading conditions. Latin America performed well despite a number of one-off trading restrictions in Colombia.

    First quarter highlights
    -Group NPR grew by 6% and group NPR per hectolitre (hl) grew by 3%, both on an organic, constant currency basis
    -Total beverage volumes grew by 3% on an organic basis
    -Lager volumes grew by 1% on an organic basis, driven by China, Europe and Africa
    -Soft drinks volumes grew by 10% on an organic basis, reflecting strong growth in Latin America, Europe, South Africa and Africa
    -The group’s financial performance is in line with expectations

    The calculation of the organic growth rates excludes the impact of acquisitions and disposals. All growth rates are quoted on an organic basis for volumes and an organic, constant currency basis for net producer revenue (NPR), except where otherwise stated.

    Latin America
    Group NPR growth reflecting strong pricing in the region offsetting softer volume performance in Colombia
    Latin America delivered group NPR growth of 5% driven by selective price increases and favourable brand mix. Total beverage volumes increased by 2%. Although lager volumes were 2% below the prior year as a result of numerous trading restrictions, soft drinks volumes grew by 9% with strong performances across the region. In Colombia, group NPR grew by 2% although lager volumes were down by 6%, impacted by the selective price increase in April 2014 and dry laws for the two rounds of the Presidential elections and in key cities during Colombia’s World Cup football matches. Peru delivered group NPR growth of 6% underpinned by Pilsen Callao’s continued growth and reflecting the cycling of the May 2013 excise increase. In Ecuador, group NPR grew by 12% driven by firm pricing on the Pilsener brand and positive brand mix. In Central America, group NPR increased by 3% reflecting a strong performance in soft drinks volumes which grew by 6%, while lager volumes increased by 1%.

    Strong group NPR performance with lager volumes returning to growth
    In Africa, group NPR grew by 11%, driven by pricing and total beverage volume growth of 5%. Lager volume growth of 3% was aided by market share gains. Total soft drinks volume growth was 9%, with strong performance in Ghana, Zambia, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. In Tanzania, group NPR grew by 11% and lager volumes recovered in June to end level for the quarter after a slow start impacted by particularly heavy rainfall. Group NPR in Mozambique grew by 15%, driven by the strong growth of Castle Lite and the return to lager volume growth in the quarter. In Uganda, lager volumes returned to growth, helping to drive group NPR growth of 7%. Group NPR in Zambia grew by 4% although lager volumes declined as a result of the excise-related pricing in January. In Zimbabwe, group NPR grew by 6% while lager volumes declined, reflecting poor economic fundamentals. Strong group NPR growth continued in Nigeria assisted by the recently commissioned incremental capacity. In Botswana, group NPR grew by 8% reflecting strong market execution in both lager and soft drinks. High single digit group NPR growth at our associate, Castel, reflected lager volume growth of 1% and soft drinks growth of 8%.

    South Africa: Beverages
    Strong group NPR growth buoyed by Easter trading
    South Africa: Beverages group NPR grew by 12% reflecting price increases, the continuing premiumisation of the portfolio, and total beverage volume growth of 6%, against a backdrop of the challenging economic environment. Lager volume growth of 4% benefited from a number of public holidays and favourable weather conditions throughout the country over Easter. The premium lager portfolio performed well, with both Castle Lite and Castle Milk Stout delivering double digit volume growth. Soft drinks volume grew 11% also benefiting from public holidays at the start of the quarter, but driven further by effective in trade execution, focus on the full brand portfolio, and price point management of bulk PET packs in particular. The rand has continued to depreciate, and consequently reported group NPR grew by only 1%.

    Asia Pacific
    Group NPR growth driven by China, with enduring category and price pressure in Australia
    Asia Pacific group NPR grew by 1% for the quarter. In Australia, group NPR declined by 6% reflecting a volume decline of 3% and a decline in NPR per hl. The soft volume and price performance was driven by continuing category pressure, reflecting increased negative consumer sentiment following the tough federal budget in May, along with continued competitive intensity. The NPR per hl decline was exacerbated by price competition from international premium brands. In China, group NPR grew by 8%, reflecting volume growth of 4% and favourable mix trends, primarily as a result of increasing premiumisation. In India, group NPR declined by 3% reflecting a volume decline of 8%, partially offset by robust NPR per hl growth of 6%. Volumes in India continued to be impacted by regulatory changes imposed in the earlier part of the prior year in several key states, as well as trading restrictions caused by the imposition of the election code of conduct during the national elections in April and May.

    Strong group NPR growth assisted by a soft volume comparative
    In Europe, group NPR grew by 8% driven by total beverage volume growth of 5%, with lager volumes up 3%. Performance in the quarter was assisted by cycling a comparative prior year quarter with poor weather and which excluded an Easter trading period. In the recently integrated businesses in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, group NPR was 6% ahead of the prior year reflecting volume growth driven by better performance in the off-premise channel, assisted by seasonal promotional activities, along with improved execution and an enhanced focus in the on-premise channel. In Poland, increased sales through discounters and selective brand price repositioning resulted in level group NPR while volumes grew by 7%. The quarter also cycled a subdued prior year quarter which was impacted by the pre-quarter stock build in the trade ahead of our global template deployment. Group NPR in the United Kingdom was up by 23% driven by the continued growth of Peroni Nastro Azzurro, reflecting improved distribution both in the off-premise and on-premise channels. Italy’s group NPR grew by 5%, driven by higher volumes reflecting Peroni’s seasonal promotional activities in the off-premise channel and the launch of its Peroni Lemon Chill radler. Anadolu Efes’ group NPR grew strongly, with total beverage volume growth driven by the continued growth of soft drinks volumes while lager volumes were negatively impacted by market regulatory conditions in Turkey.

    North America
    Continued growth of the above premium segment
    North America group NPR grew by 3%, driven by MillerCoors’ group NPR growth of 2%, with lower volumes offset by positive sales mix and higher net pricing. US domestic sales volume to retailers (STRs) declined 1.2% in the quarter. Premium light STRs declined low single digits reflecting a low single digit decline in both Miller Lite and Coors Light, which benefited from the launch of Coors Light Summer Brew. Premium regular brands declined low single digits with high single digit growth of Coors Banquet offset by a double digit decline in Miller Genuine Draft. In line with the strategy to improve above premium mix, total above premium STRs grew double digits, driven by the Redd’s franchise and innovations such as Miller Fortune and Smith & Forge Hard Cider. Within above premium, the Tenth and Blake division declined low single digits with high single digit growth from the Leinenkugel’s portfolio, low single digit growth of Blue Moon Belgian White and high single digit decline of Blue Moon seasonals. The below premium portfolio declined mid single digits. Domestic sales volume to wholesalers (STWs) declined 1.7% in the quarter.

    On 18 July 2014, the group announced that it had successfully placed approximately 67% of its shareholding in Tsogo Sun Holdings Limited (Tsogo), a company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, through an institutional placing for a total gross consideration of ZAR 7.6 billion (approximately US$707 million). A further ZAR 200 million (approximately US$19 million) worth of shares are expected to be purchased by members of Tsogo’s executive management team, and the balance of the group’s shareholding will be bought back by Tsogo for ZAR 2.8 billion (approximately US$261 million), subject to Tsogo shareholder approval. On the basis that this approval is granted, the buy back is expected to be completed on or about 5 September 2014, following which the SABMiller group would no longer hold any ordinary shares in Tsogo.
    On 7 April 2014, the group announced that its South Africa and Africa divisions would be consolidated into one division for management purposes with effect from 1 July 2014. Mark Bowman has been appointed as the Managing Director of that division.
    (SABMiller plc)
    21.07.2014   Australia: Craft brewer wins trademark battle against SABMiller subsidiary    ( )

    A Sydney craft brewery has won a trademark dispute against multinational SABMiller after the small brewery attempted to trade mark its beer brand name, Marketing reported on July 16.

    Sydney craft brewery Wayward Brewing Company has emerged victorious from its battle with multinational brewer SABMiller to register its trademark ‘WAYWARD’ as a beer brand in Australia.

    The craft brewery has been engaged in a two-year dispute to register its trademark against SABMiller India, a subsidiary of the global brewing giant SABMiller.

    Wayward Brewery founder Peter Philip applied for the name ‘WAYWARD’ under the Trade Marks Act 1995 in category 32 (beers and non-alcoholic beverages). SABMiller India opposed the filing on the grounds that the Wayward brand would be confused with its brand Haywards, a popular beer in India.

    Philip says SABMiller India claimed a long list of grounds in their opposition to his application to register WAYWARD in Australia. “In evidence they relied upon reputation in their brands ‘Haywards 5000’ and ‘Haywards 2000’, asserting that Wayward Brewing’s use of WAYWARD for beer would confuse consumers in Australia,” he says.

    IP Australia ruled this week that SABMiller India’s points of opposition were unsupported, ruling that insufficient reputation of the Haywards brand had been established in Australia and that deception or confusion was unlikely.

    IP Australia will now allow the WAYWARD trademark to be registered in Australia, and awarded costs against SABMiller India, the second largest brewer in India.

    “Maybe they thought that a little guy wouldn’t stand up to them, but I always knew we were in the right and I wasn’t going to give up without a fight,” says Philip, Wayward Brewing Company’s founder and head brewer. “We always believed that the opposition was totally without foundation as our WAYWARD trade mark is completely different in sound, appearance and meaning to their brands.

    “It is a great feeling to be finally vindicated in our victory but it has cost us a lot of time, money and stress wondering whether this massive global brewer was going to force us to change our brand and start all over with a new name. For me it was always personal as I have put my heart and soul into building this business.”

    The brewery produces beer types that are rare in Australia and such as a Bavarian Keller Bier and a blended European tradition of the French Saison style with Japanese hops and Chinese Jasmine Green Tea. The brewery also produces one of the strongest beers brewed in Australia, its ‘Devil’s Advocate Eisbock’ at 13% ABV.
    18.07.2014   SABMiller sets out ambitious new sustainability targets    ( Company news )

    Company news Commits to supporting half a million small businesses, world-class water efficiency, and cutting total carbon footprint

    SABMiller, the world’s second-largest brewer, is scaling up its globally-recognised sustainable development programmes with a set of ambitious new targets to achieve by 2020. The business, which is recognised as a leader for embedding sustainability into its operations, has pledged to:
    -Directly support over half a million small businesses, to help them grow, improve their livelihoods and drive local development
    -Achieve a world-class water efficiency target of 3.0 litres per litre of beer and secure the water supplies it shares with local communities through watershed partnerships at every site that faces water risks
    -Reduce carbon footprint of the entire value chain from grain to glass by 25% per litre of beer, and an average of 50% across all its breweries
    -Measurably improve food security and resource productivity by developing targets by crop and growing region
    -Encourage moderate and responsible alcohol consumption by scaling up global and local programmes to reach all SABMiller beer consumers

    This new programme, branded Prosper, is the latest evolution of the company’s approach to sustainable development, which is a key element of SABMiller’s business strategy. At its heart is supporting the role small businesses play around the world in generating economic growth and reducing poverty. SABMiller is using its value chains from farmers to retailers to drive inclusive growth, sustainable resource use and alcohol responsibility.
    Alan Clark, Chief Executive Officer said: “Today society faces major challenges and the stakes are getting higher: poverty, water scarcity, climate change, food security and alcohol-related harm all demand urgent attention to secure a prosperous future.
    “These pressing issues are shared by communities, businesses and governments and we must solve them together. Only those companies that are prepared to be part of the solution will be successful in the long term, and that’s why this approach is integral to our business strategy.”

    Andy Wales, Director of Sustainable Development, said: “Beer is essentially a local product, and we have deep roots in the local communities where it is brewed and consumed. Our business-focused approach to sustainability has already developed innovative models of watershed protection, created new beers using local crops such as sorghum and cassava, and driven significant cost savings from carbon and water efficiency. This is a natural next step to support our future growth path.”

    Jane Nelson, Director of the CSR Initiative, Harvard Kennedy School, said: "The company of tomorrow creates shared value and opportunities not only for shareholders, but for people, communities and other partners throughout its value chain. SABMiller is doing this by making sustainable development part of core business strategy. For example, directly supporting half a million small businesses has the potential to improve the lives of 1.5 million employees of those businesses and a further 6 million family members. If SABMiller lives up to the ambition it is setting out today, this could be transformational."

    David Nussbaum, Chief Executive, WWF-UK, said: “In terms of its ambition, scale and commitment at the highest levels of the company, SABMiller’s ’Prosper’ plan represents a vision that recognises the centrality of sustainability to delivering prosperity – for businesses, as well as for people and nature.”

    The five shared imperatives are:
    -Accelerate growth and social development through the company’s value chains, with a focus on promoting entrepreneurship, particularly among women and disadvantaged groups
    -Make beer a natural choice for moderate and responsible drinkers, by promoting robust standards and guidelines, launching new communications campaigns and supporting programmes to reduce the harmful use of alcohol
    -Secure shared water resources for SABMiller’s businesses, local communities and ecosystems, by building a detailed understanding of water risks and creating community partnerships to manage them
    -Create value by reducing our waste and carbon footprint throughout the value chain, driving down emissions from brewing, promoting sustainable packaging and prioritising low energy fridges
    -Support responsible, sustainable use of land, by creating secure, sustainable supply chains and by helping farmers to increase profitability, productivity and social development
    (SABMiller plc)
    19.03.2014   UK: World’s leading brewers launching new beers to meet Britain’s thirst for sweeter alternatives     ( )

    AB InBev’s first foray into the spirits beer category with Cubanisto reflects Britain’s growing thirst for sweeter alternatives with Heineken and SABMiller also looking to exploit the trend and make beer more appealing in nightclubs, Marketing Week reported on March 10.

    The Budweiser owner is launching its rum-based variant at the end of the month (24 March) with a campaign targeting “tech savvy trendsetters”. Activity pitches the beer as “perfect for nightlife occasions” and will span pop-up parties and live art performances throughout 2014.

    The popularity of spirit beers has been growing for several years, extending the wider category to key trading sessions for the big night out occasion. The upswing is expected to push the flavoured on-trade market to be worth £400 mln by 2016, according to alcohol consultants CGA Strategy, with core consumers coming from the 18 to 25 range.

    Global brewers are now experimenting with different mixers to capitalise on the shift and cement their presence in a market still lacking the premium credentials of its world or craft beer counterparts.

    Emily Kraftman, senior brand manager for Cubanisto, said the spirit beer’s premium status is being pushed through offering drinkers access to exclusive “trendy”, “money can’t buy events”.

    She adds: “We want Cubanisto to become a brand that people actively seek out and is not reliant on traditional promotions to drive sales. It’s an untapped market, one where customers are looking for something completely different from anything else currently on offer.”

    Heineken is employing a similar strategy to promote the first variant from its tequila-flavoured Desperados brand in the UK, which lifted value sales by 70 per cent in 2013. The campaign promotes Desperados Verde, a tequila mint and lime beer that has a sweeter but lower abv than the original Desperados.

    It is part of a wider £7 mln investment for the brand, which accounts for around two thirds of the spirit beer market, as it braces itself for upcoming activity from its rivals.

    SABMiller is preparing its own assault on the category in the coming months. The Peroni owner is currently researching how it can develop beers capable of snaring wine and spirit drinkers.

    Alcohol analysts say the flurry of products will help lift “stuttering” on-trade sales but warn brewers will need to focus on marketing the premium status of the category rather than growing the size to avoid early saturation.

    Phil Tate, chief executive of CGA, says 27,000 on-trade outlets out of 124,000 now sell spirit beers adding volume sales jumped 80 per cent year-on-year in 2013.

    He adds: “The pace of growth and innovation/flavour diversification within the category shows the level of consumer pull for the products. Beer has been losing share of throat of the big night out with now over 50 per cent of alcohol sales being spirits based post 9pm in the evening rather than the traditional perception of 11pm.

    ”Spirits based beers are again broadening the window for beer in the key trading sessions for the big night out occasion and prolonging sales within the category, providing incremental volume opportunity for the major brewers.”
    24.02.2014   World: SABMiller developing beers to attract wine and spirit drinkers    ( )

    SABMiller is developing beers to attract wine and spirits drinkers as it looks to counter similar innovation drives from rival brewers AB InBev and Heineken to introduce new beer styles, Marketing Week reported on February 19.

    The world’s second biggest by sales says it will launch a range of “fruitier” and “sweeter” liquids moving forward in the hopes of appealing to the growing number of discerning alcohol drinkers.

    It is currently doing “extensive research” in understanding how to develop beers it can market more prominently around factors such as colour, smell and alcohol level.

    Alan Clark, chief executive of SABMiller, told analysts on a conference call on February 19, that the focus on alternative beers aimed to counter “taste harmonisation”, wherein many lager brands end up tasting similar due to brewers attempting to maximise the appeal of their global brands.

    He added: “There are many opportunities to innovate and expand beyond beer with a range of products that move from non-alcoholic, to lower-alcohol versions….and to flavoured alcoholic drinks and ciders. We have seen opportunities where we can reverse the trend of spirits and wines gaining share from beer. That’s certainly an objective for ourselves in more mature markets where we think the [beer] category has been neglected for a number of years and needs rejuvenation.

    “What you will see over time is that innovation is growing in the beer world and certainly as contributor to our revenue is growing substantially over time.

    Previous attempts to broaden the appeal of beer such as Carlsberg’s Animee have been hampered by ill-judged product positioning that has put off both male and female drinkers.

    A greater focus on innovation over the last two years from the likes of Heineken’s tequila-flavoured Desperados beer has given way to renewed confidence the category can capture occasions from other alcohol categories. The Dutch brewer revealed 6 per cent of sales in the first half of 2013 came from new products such as the flavoured variant, which the brewer is using to pull younger drinkers into the category.

    The innovation push is part of SABMiller’s wider four-pronged marketing strategy to improve its premium mix, extend into other occasions and invest more in promoting its cheaper variants.

    Separately, the brewer is switching the focus of its marketing and innovation teams from regional to global initiatives to allow best practice to be shared more effectively.
    06.02.2014   SABMiller to invest $110 million dollars expanding production capacity in Nigeria    ( Company news )

    Company news SABMiller‘s Nigerian subsidiary, Intafact Beverages Ltd, announces the expansion of its brewery in Onitsha, South Eastern Nigeria. His Excellency Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria, originally commissioned the brewery in August 2012.
    SABMiller made an initial investment of over US$100 million in the Onitsha brewery, making it the largest single investment in Anambra State for almost 20 years.
    Due to our growth and in particular the success of Hero Lager, a further US$110 million will be invested in the brewery to triple its current annual capacity from 700,000 to 2.1 million hectolitres. Currently, the business directly employs 300 local people and the investment will lead to the creation of a further 400 direct jobs.
    Simon Harvey, SABMiller Nigeria Managing Director, added: “We have made significant investments over the past five years in Nigeria and this announcement demonstrates our ongoing commitment in the country”.
    (SABMiller plc)
    29.01.2014   South Sudan: SABMiller keeps brewing at half capacity in troubled South Sudan    ( )

    When the brewery shuts down, that's when you really need to start worrying. Any Africa hack will tell you that from eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo to Sierra Leone, even when war is at its worst, breweries continue to operate, Mail & Guardian reported on January 24.

    The crisis in South Sudan that started on December 15 has compelled embassies and nongovernmental organisations to evacuate staff and travel warnings have been issued for foreigners to leave the country immediately. According to the United Nations, more than 500,000 people have been forced to flee their homes and thousands have been killed because of the fighting.

    But the South African- and United Kingdom-based SABMiller seems destined to follow in the footsteps of brave African producers that make sure villages across Africa get their beer, regardless of the circumstances. It's not going to be easy, however.

    Established in 2009 and expanded during the euphoria of independence for South Sudan in 2011, the brewery remains the only manufacturer in the country's fledgling capital Juba, according to its spokesperson, Nigel Fairbrass.

    When violence broke out at the end of last year, 53 SABMiller expatriates were evacuated to South Africa, the UK and Uganda and the brewery is now operating at only half its capacity.

    "It is difficult to say when people will be able to return. The situation is very fluid," Fairbrass said from London when asked for comment this week.

    Sales had been halted in the worst-affected towns such as Bor, he said.

    The SAB experience reflects something of the disillusionment of those who invested on a massive scale in the country in the past three years, many of them South Africans.

    Companies such as MTN and Standard Bank opened up shop on the back of the huge involvement by civil society and the South African government in the period just after independence.

    South Africa at the time led the African Union (AU) reconstruction efforts in the country with university exchanges and the training of diplomats and the South Sudan Police Service. Former president Thabo Mbeki, who was a great supporter of the South Sudan project, is still heavily involved in Sudan and South Sudan as head of the AU's High Level Implementation Panel.

    Violence that had been simmering in the country for months erupted into a civil war after President Salva Kirr accused his former vice-president, Riek Machar, of staging a coup. The violence has been described as largely ethnically driven between the Nuer, supporting Machar, and Kirr's Dinka tribe.

    Despite the devastation, Standard Bank also said it continued to operate.

    "We are obviously concerned about the current situation in the country and are monitoring events very closely," said Chris Newson, chief executive of Standard Bank Africa. "Our primary concern remains the safety of our staff, customers and their families, and we continue to be open for business with strong support coming from our Kenyan operation."

    South Sudan expert Paula Roque said the conflict was a severe blow to development and business in the country, which took off only in 2011.

    "It wasn't even a matter of rebuilding institutions, infrastructure and support structures for development, but rather starting from scratch, with entire sectors of the economy and service delivery needing to be organised and developed," she said.

    Roque said that, although huge quantities of aid money flowed into the country after independence, those funds would now have to be used to look after the displaced and the humanitarian needs of those affected by the fighting.

    Asked whether investors and the international community underestimated the underlying fault lines in the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), she said it was a "calculated risk" because the country had managed to sustain itself during the six-year-long peace transition (under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement), had a large UN peacekeeping presence and was monitored closely by implementation partners and donors.

    "Investment and post-conflict reconstruction was the next step," said Roque, former senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria and currently a PhD candidate on South Sudan at Oxford University.

    "However, investors, like diplomats and the international community at large, seriously underestimated what political reform needed to be undertaken to allow for the SPLM to become a resilient vehicle to guide the country through nation and state building."

    She said that, even though development projects had been halted, donors would not abandon the fledgling government.

    "Too much effort has been put into stabilising the country and making sure that it is steered in the right direction to disengage completely now.

    "This conflict has seriously damaged the credibility of the leadership in Juba and this may affect how the international community engages. There is also the geopolitical consideration that two unstable Sudans could plunge the region into unending instability."

    18.11.2013   Canada: Can Coors Banquet beer help Molson Coors?    ( )

    The Molson Coors Brewing Company and its Canadian subsidiary, Molson Coors Canada, Inc., are known for iconic brews such as Molson Canadian, Coors Light, Carling, Blue Moon, Keystone and thanks to a joint venture with SABMiller, the company added the Miller line to its portfolio. However, there is one mystical brew that always seems to have beer drinkers going out of their way for more — Coors Banquet beer.
    So why Banquet beer? According to legend, miners in the late 1800s threw celebratory banquets and Coors was the beer of choice because of its superior craftsmanship. Of course, this is a rumor being spread by Molson Coors, but it sounds good.
    There were times in the US east of the Mississippi River when the absence of this beer was a mystery to everyone. Supposedly, due to the lack of pasteurization and preservatives, the beer required more expensive refrigerated transportation to prevent spoilage. Coors finally crossed the mighty Mississippi in 1981.
    Now it is Canada’s turn to be introduced to this beer. Many Canadian beer drinkers have been asking for Coors Banquet.
    It would appear the results of the rollout have been impressive. According to a press release by the company, demand was tested by bringing 16,000 cans to bars in Calgary during the Stampede past summer. The supply was expected to last 10 days, but was gone in 48 hours. This was just a precursor to what turned out to be strong demand with some retailers calling it one of the biggest successes in years according to the company.
    Despite volume weakness, Molson Coors was able to improve on several metrics during the third quarter including a nearly 8% increase in after-tax earnings. The company also saw margins expand 20 basis points to 41.6%, EBITDA grow 0.6% to $464.3 million, free cash flow increase $1.8 million to $756.8 million and net debt reduced by 10.5% to $3.48 billion.
    That was the good news. Unfortunately, like many large brewers, the company continues to see poor consumer demand. While the company has seen good demand in Canada for its above-premium beers including the above mentioned Coors Banquet, Canadians appear to be losing a taste for the company’s market leading Coors Light brand as volumes and market share declined. The only other bright spots in the Canadian market were in the brewers craft brands as well as a market share increase by the popular Molson Canadian brand.
    The European market was slightly better as sales volume increased a modest 0.7% as the cost of goods sold declined by 0.2%. This combined with favorable exchange rates allowed the company to show an underlying pretax income increase of 5.7% for the European business.
    The MillerCoors joint venture continued to show strong results on the bottom line thanks to a strong pricing environment, cost reductions and a better brand mix. The joint venture recorded an 11.7% increase in underlying net income to $363.8.
    In other international markets, the company produced strong growth in Mexico and Latin America along with higher pricing in China. However, weakness in the Ukraine and Russia license markets affected the overall international business.
    Consolidated underlying net sales slipped 2% to $1.17 billion and underlying after tax income per share (non-GAAP) was up 5.8% to $1.45 per share which beat the analyst consensus estimate of $1.39 per share by 4.3%.
    As a whole, it was not a bad quarter for Molson Coors and investors have been rewarded as the stock is up substantially from the multi-year lows experienced just one year ago. However, the Canadian market continues to be a problem.
    Given Canada accounts for a big part of total sales, it is important that the company protect its turf. The warm welcome received by the release of Coors Banquet could be the first step to light a fire under the Coors Light brand as the fanfare around the Coors trademark should improve. However a dispute with SABMiller over a license agreement where Molson Coors distributes labels such as Miller Lite in Canada could further decrease sales if SABMiller is victorious in court. Additionally, it is uncertain what impact the tension created by this situation will put on the highly successful MillerCoors joint venture in the States.
    12.11.2013   Canada: Molson Coors and AB InBev agree to shut down JV on Modelo brands distribution earlier ...    ( )

    ... than planned

    Molson Coors Brewing announced earlier this week that it had agreed to exit a JV with AB InBev early – March 1 2014 rather than January 1 2018 – that covers the distribution of Grupo Modelo’s brands in Canada.
    AB InBev will pay Molson Coors C$70 mln ($67 mln) to terminate the deal, while doubts persist over the future of the latter’s licensing deal with SABMiller (via MillerCoors) to distribute its brands in Canada.
    Molson Coors won a temporary injunction back in June to continue managing the SAB brands ahead of a full court hearing over the dispute – SAB blames low sales volumes and missed targets on its move to terminate the licensing agreement – after Molson Coors sued its partner back in January.
    27.08.2013   MillerCoors Grows Above Premium Portfolio In Challenging Quarter    ( Company news )

    Company news -Above-Premium Innovations Help Drive 2.6% Increase in Domestic Net Revenue per Barrel
    -Profit Declines Due to Weak Sales in Premium Light and Economy Segments

    SABMiller plc (LN:SAB; OTC:SABMRY) and Molson Coors Brewing Company (NYSE: TAP; TSX: TPX) reported solid pricing and strong Above Premium sales growth at MillerCoors in the second quarter, despite difficult trading conditions. Domestic net revenue per barrel increased 2.6 percent versus the same quarter in the prior year, while underlying net income declined 5.3 percent to $412.7 million.
    “This was a tough volume quarter for us and for the beer industry overall,” said MillerCoors Chief Executive Officer Tom Long. “Our strategy to evolve our portfolio to the fast-growing and higher-margin areas of the business is working, as shown by the successful launch of Redd’s Apple Ale and the nationwide expansion of Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy. Thanks to these initiatives, as well as the introduction of Third Shift Amber Lager and continued growth of Blue Moon Belgian White, we have already grown our Above Premium brand volumes to more than 9% of our portfolio in the quarter. While we continued to gain share in Premium Lights according to Nielsen data, we are working hard to restore volume growth which we believe will come as the health of the category is defined by the Premium Light performance.”

    Second Quarter Highlights
    Unless otherwise indicated, all amounts are in U.S. dollars and calculated in accordance with U.S. GAAP. All percentages are versus the prior year comparable period and include MillerCoors operations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
    -Total net sales decreased 2.9 percent to $2.159 billion for the quarter.
    -Total cost of goods sold (COGS) per barrel increased 2.4 percent.
    -Underlying net income (a non-GAAP measure) decreased 5.3 percent to $412.7 million.
    -Domestic net revenue per barrel, excluding contract brewing and company-owned distributor sales, increased 2.6 percent.
    -Domestic sales-to-retailers (STRs) decreased 4.4 percent.
    -Domestic sales-to-wholesalers (STWs) decreased 5.3 percent.

    Brand Highlights for the Second Quarter
    MillerCoors Premium Light STRs decreased high-single digits in the quarter. Coors Light declined mid-single-digits, yet continues to lead the Premium Light segment in share growth by leveraging its “Rocky Mountain Cold Refreshment” positioning through advertising, innovation and promotions. The spring launch of the new World’s Most Refreshing Can was supported with national media, digital marketing, retail and innovative programming like the Coors Light Refresherator, a customized personal vending machine designed to highlight the World’s Most Refreshing Can. Miller Lite declined high-single digits. The launch of the new Miller Lite Pilsner Bottle has been well-received among retailers and consumers.
    Tenth and Blake Beer Company grew the MillerCoors Craft and Import portfolio by double digits. Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy increased double digits as the brand continued its national expansion. Blue Moon Belgian White grew high-single digits in the quarter, continuing its run of 46 consecutive quarters of growth. Batch 19 more than doubled as it continued to expand nationally.
    MillerCoors new expansion brands delivered strong growth in Above Premium. Redd’s Apple Ale continued an aggressive marketing campaign, including national and local TV, sponsorship of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski for two races, and integrations with Discovery Network. Redd's volume doubled versus the prior quarter, sourcing most of its sales from consumers who normally drink outside the MillerCoors portfolio. Third Shift Amber Lager gained momentum behind strong distribution and increasing velocity trends and is already a larger brand than well-known craft brands, such as Goose Island 312 and New Belgium Ranger IPA, according to year-to-date Nielsen all outlet data.
    MillerCoors Premium Regular portfolio declined mid-single digits. Coors Banquet grew mid-single digits fueled by the June debut of the new 12-ounce “stubby” bottle modeled after the brand's post-Prohibition bottle. Coors Banquet’s continued growth was offset by declines in Miller Genuine Draft.
    MillerCoors Economy portfolio declined mid-single digits. Miller High Life continued its military veteran program and kicked off a partnership with Harley-Davidson to celebrate the 110th anniversaries of the two iconic American brands. Keystone Light continued its partnership with the FLW Walmart Bass Fishing Tour Series that culminates with the Forrest L. Wood Cup in August.

    Financial Highlights for the Second Quarter
    Domestic net revenue per barrel grew 2.6 percent for the quarter as a result of higher net pricing and favorable mix.
    Total company net revenue per barrel, including contract brewing and company-owned distributor sales, increased 2.7 percent. Third-party contract brewing volumes were down 6.6 percent.
    Total COGS per barrel increased 2.4 percent, driven by commodity inflation, brand innovation and lower fixed cost absorption.
    Marketing, general and administrative costs increased 0.2 percent for the quarter, driven primarily by increased marketing investments in support of the national launches of Redd’s Apple Ale and Third Shift Amber Lager and the expansion of Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy partially offset by lower pension expense.
    In the second quarter, MillerCoors achieved $25 million of cost savings, primarily related to procurement savings, logistics savings and brewery efficiencies.
    Depreciation and amortization expenses for MillerCoors in the second quarter were $69.7 million, and additions to tangible and intangible assets totaled $65.9 million.
    There were no special items during the second quarter.
    (SABMiller plc)
    26.08.2013   UK: SABMiller starts selling unfiltered Pilsner Uquell in the UK    ( )

    SABMiller, the beer giant behind brands such as Peroni and Grolsch, has started selling Pilsner Urquell, the 171-year-old Czech lager, in Britain in an unfiltered “tanked” form, The Telegraph reported on August 18.

    Fresh beer is delivered direct to pubs and bars in a tanker from the brewery and has proved popular in other European countries such as the Czech Republic, Germany and Slovakia for its smoother, less bitter taste.

    The fresh beer doesn’t have to go through the same pasteurisation process as bottled and barrelled beer, which can slightly alter the flavour.

    Despite the logistical challenges of transporting it in the 24-hour window required to keep it fresh, SABMiller has rolled out the innovation to Britain, where speciality and craft beers are bucking a prolonged decline in the wider market.

    After introducing unfiltered Pilsner Urquell to British drinkers at food and drink festivals, SABMiller has signed up its first pub in London, which stores the unpasteurised beer in large copper tanks to retain its freshness.

    “Consumers are looking for things that are different, more considered, they are looking for things they can discover, different styles,” said Sue Clark, managing director for SABMiller Europe. “Per capita consumption in some of our markets has declined, so you have to work harder to keep what you are producing interesting and exciting for people.”

    Beer sales in Britain have been shrinking since 2004, when 10.2 mln pints were sold against 7.8 mln last year, according to the British Beer and Pub Association.

    The slump, fuelled by factors including high beer duties, recession and competition from other forms of alcohol, has also had a severe effect on the pub sector, with 26 inns closing every week in the UK.

    Despite the wider trend, there has been a growing interest in craft, speciality and more expensive “premium” beers, as drinkers spend more discerningly.

    SABMiller, which imports premium global beers to Britain, saw lager volumes grow 4pc in the UK in the 12 months to March 31 against a 5.1pc decline in the wider beer market during the same period. Independent microbreweries have also been flourishing.

    According to the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), there are now more than 1,000 breweries in Britain producing more than 8,000 different beers.

    Global drinks companies have been looking at ways in which they can tap into the growing enthusiasm for speciality and craft beers, including buying up small breweries.

    Such moves have been met with dissent in the US, where some small, craft brewers have accused the global giants of being “crafty” by presenting some of their labels as independent when they are part of large multi-nationals.

    But Julian Grocock, chief executive of the Society of Independent Brewers welcomed initiatives by companies such as SABMiller. “It enriches the overall category of beer. Our mission is to persuade consumers to drink beer in all of its styles,” he said.
    13.08.2013   Mexico: Court agrees to consider SABMiller’s appeal    ( )

    SABMiller PLC, the world's second-largest brewer by sales, said on August 7 that a Mexican federal court has accepted its case to consider overruling a July antitrust settlement on exclusive sales agreements that SABMiller believes "failed to truly address the monopolistic activities" in the Mexican beer market.

    Mexico's Federal Competition Commission stopped short of prohibiting the beer contracts entirely, reaching an agreement with top brewers Anheuser-Busch InBev NV's Grupo Modelo unit and Heineken NV's Cerveceria Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma to limit their use of exclusivity contracts at small shops and some other points of sale, such as restaurants.

    The Mexican beer market is the world's fifth biggest by volume sales, according to Euromonitor, although SABMiller claims a miniscule market share. Modelo brands including Corona account for about 58% of the 67 million hectoliters of beer sold here each year, while Cerveceria Cuauhtemoc brands like Tecate represent 41%.

    "The commitments made by both brewers are limited by several significant exclusions, which still make it possible to deny access to a majority of retail sales and to large and important regions," SABMiller said in a statement this week.

    The antitrust agreement will remain in effect while the federal court examines SABMiller's case, the brewer said.

    An official from the Federal Competition Commission declined to comment.

    Nearly half the beer sold in Mexico each year is channeled through small mom-and-pop convenience stores, many of which agree to only offer either Modelo or Cerveceria Cuauhtemoc brands in exchange for beer-logo awnings, signs or refrigerators, as well as discounts on beer purchases, credit or assistance with local permits.

    In its July resolution, the antitrust authority said that such agreements can make the Mexican retail chain more efficient, for instance by supplying small businesses with financing for improvements and expansion.
    08.08.2013   SABMiller plc Trading Update    ( Company news )

    Company news SABMiller plc issues its Interim Management Statement for the group’s first quarter ended 30 June 2013. The calculation of the organic growth rates excludes the impact of acquisitions and disposals on revenues and volumes.

    Alan Clark, Chief Executive of SABMiller, commented:
    “Our first quarter revenue growth was held back by unseasonably cold and wet conditions in many of our northern hemisphere markets, which negatively impacted beer consumption. This was offset by continued growth in our Latin America and Africa divisions.”

    First quarter highlights
    -Group revenue and group revenue per hl both grew by 2% on an organic, constant currency basis
    -Total beverage volumes on an organic basis were level with the prior year
    -Lager volumes on an organic basis declined 1%, with growth in Latin America and Africa offset by Europe and North America
    -Soft drinks volumes on an organic basis grew by 8% reflecting growth in Latin America, Europe and Africa
    -Depreciation of key currencies against the US dollar will adversely impact reported results
    -The group’s underlying financial performance is in line with expectations

    Latin America
    Volumes in Colombia grew, driven by the light beer segment and our affordability initiatives
    Revenue growth continued in Latin America during the first quarter, with organic, constant currency group revenue increasing 6%. Lager volumes were up 2% on an organic basis, despite slower economic growth and price increases towards the end of the prior year in Colombia and Peru, and soft drinks grew by 5% on the same basis. Colombia’s lager volumes grew 5% in the quarter, assisted by growth in Águila Light and the continued roll-out of bulk packs, as well as expanded distribution. Peru’s lager volumes declined 3%, impacted by a further consumer price increase as a result of the 8% increase in excise tax during the quarter. In Ecuador lager volumes were up 3%, underpinned by strong growth of Pilsener Light and increased reach of our direct service model. In Central America lager volumes grew by 2%, with a strong performance in the premium segment in Panama, and soft drinks volumes increased 6% on an organic basis driven by El Salvador, and despite aggressive price competition in the region.

    Unseasonably cold and wet weather and continued weak consumer sentiment
    In Europe, group revenue on an organic, constant currency basis declined 1% as the 3% decline in total volumes on an organic basis was partially offset by an improvement in group revenue per hl. Lager volumes were down 7% on an organic basis marked by continuing weakness in consumer confidence and unusually cold and wet weather. This had a considerable effect on industry performance, especially in our larger markets, and impacted our seasonal offerings. In Poland, volumes were 14% lower as the industry cycled the prior year uplift associated with the Euro 2012 football tournament. Our business was also impacted by a combination of industry price discounting and the stock build in the trade in the previous quarter ahead of price increases in March 2013 and our global template deployment. In the Czech Republic, domestic volumes were down 11%, as the business cycled a positive off-premise performance in the prior year assisted by promotional activities and the launch of radlers. The on-premise channel in particular was adversely impacted by severe flooding which resulted in outlet closures, affected distribution and stifled the performance of innovations across the market. Volumes in Romania were up 13% with growth across the portfolio driven by our economy brand Ciucas along with Timisoreana and Ursus, with the latter assisted by the launch of Ursus Cooler. Domestic volumes declined by 4% in Italy as the industry continued to suffer from weak consumer spending. In the UK, domestic volumes were 8% down as management reduced discount levels on Miller Genuine Draft. On an organic basis Anadolu Efes volumes grew, with a decline in lager volumes more than offset by growth in soft drinks volumes. On a reported basis Anadolu Efes volumes benefited from the full consolidation of the Coca-Cola Icecek results.

    North America
    Evolving portfolio towards premium in a challenging environment
    In a challenging environment with significantly cooler weather in most of the country, MillerCoors gained share in the premium light and above premium segments. MillerCoors’ revenue decreased 3% with US domestic sales to retailers (STRs) down 4.4% and domestic sales to wholesalers (STWs) down 5.3% in the quarter. Premium light STRs declined high single digits in the quarter with Coors Light declining mid single digits and Miller Lite declining high single digits. MillerCoors’ above premium portfolio grew double digits driven by new product offerings, including Redd’s Apple Ale and Third Shift Amber Lager, as well the continued strength of Tenth and Blake led by the double digit growth of Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy. The economy portfolio was down mid single digits.

    Africa volumes benefited from capacity expansion and Tanzania returned to growth
    Group revenue in Africa grew by 10% on an organic, constant currency basis driven by increased volumes. Lager volumes grew by 8% on an organic basis despite cycling strong growth in the first quarter of the prior year. Tanzania returned to growth with lager volumes 8% ahead of the prior year and Castle Lite continued to drive growth in the premium segment. Zambia enjoyed lager volume growth of 14% assisted by the commissioning of the new Ndola brewery in November 2012. Nigeria continued to grow strongly, supported by the new capacity from the Onitsha greenfield brewery. In Mozambique lager volume growth of 1% was subdued after strong trade buy in during the final quarter of the prior year and some political disturbance in the latter part of the quarter. Softer economic conditions during the quarter impacted volumes in Uganda, Zimbabwe and South Sudan, which all experienced a contraction in lager volumes. Our associate Castel delivered lager volume growth of 9% underpinned by a strong performance in Angola. Soft drinks volumes continued to grow strongly, up 10%, with notable performances from Ghana and Zambia, and from our associates Castel and Delta in Zimbabwe. Other alcoholic beverage volumes ended the quarter 4% lower on an organic basis primarily as a result of tougher trading conditions in Botswana.

    Asia Pacific
    CUB delivered a third successive quarter of growth in Victoria Bitter
    Asia Pacific group revenue on an organic, constant currency basis declined by 2%, adversely impacted by the loss of discontinued brands in Australia. Lager volumes in the region grew by 1% on an organic basis. In China, lager volume growth was 2% with demand impacted by poor weather across the country in April and May. In India, volumes declined 1%, as a number of states introduced regulatory changes which unfavourably impacted sales, while much of India was impacted by the early onset of the monsoon season. In Australia, continuing volumes were level compared with the prior year, despite a relatively weak consumer environment, and the adverse impact of the timing of Easter. Australia’s largest brand, Victoria Bitter, delivered its third consecutive quarter of growth, up 8% compared with the prior year. Performance was also supported by robust premium portfolio growth, including both Crown Lager and Peroni Nastro Azzurro, the fastest growing international brand. This growth, however, was partially offset by a decline in Carlton Draught. Total domestic volumes, including discontinued brands, were down 7%.

    South Africa: Beverages
    Beer and soft drink volumes held up well despite a softening consumer environment
    In South Africa, group revenue on a constant currency basis grew by 5%, driven by beer pricing and higher premium lager sales. Lager volumes were level with the prior year against a backdrop of softer consumer spending and the absence of an Easter peak period. In the face of strong competition, our portfolio performed well, with Castle Lite continuing to grow particularly strongly and Castle Lager also posting a good performance. We continued to improve our customer servicing and targeted brand investment. Soft drinks volumes rose 2%, driven by the continued success of the two litre PET pack and strong growth in still drinks, supported by increased market penetration.

    Other Material Events
    On 31 May 2013 the group completed the disposal of its non-core milk and juice business in Panama.
    On 1 July 2013 Guy Elliott joined the board as an independent non-executive director and was appointed to the audit and remuneration committees. A further board change will become effective on 25 July 2013, when Cyril Ramaphosa will retire as an independent non-executive director.
    (SABMiller plc)
    26.03.2013   SABMiller launches second cassava beer in Africa    ( Company news )

    Company news - Launch in Ghana builds on success of Impala in Mozambique
    - Expansion of SABMiller’s strategy to increase choice for low-income consumers

    SABMiller plc (SAB.L) announces the launch of a cassava beer in Ghana. The beer will be brewed by SABMiller’s local subsidiary, Accra Brewery Limited (ABL), under the brand name ‘Eagle’. The launch builds on the success of the world’s first commercially-made cassava beer, Impala, which SABMiller unveiled in Mozambique 18 months ago.
    Prior to Impala’s launch in Mozambique, cassava had never been used to brew beer on a commercial scale because of the logistical challenge of collecting the roots from smallholder farmers who are widely dispersed, along with its rapid deterioration immediately after harvesting. Cassava is a reliable source of starch across most of Africa, but it starts to degrade almost immediately after it is harvested, which, together with its high water content, makes it unsuitable for transporting over long distances.
    Mark Bowman, Managing Director of SABMiller Africa, said: “Part of our strategy across Africa is to make high quality beer which is affordable for low-income consumers while simultaneously creating opportunities for smallholder farmers in our markets. The launch of Eagle in Ghana ticks both these boxes.
    “Eagle is aimed at attracting low-income consumers away from illicit alcohol. This is a virtuous circle: smallholder cassava farmers have a guaranteed market for their crop, which is then used to make consistently high quality, affordable beer for consumers; and the government realises increased revenues as people trade up into formal, taxable alcohol consumption.”
    Accra Brewery has partnered with DADTCO (Dutch Agricultural Development and Trading Company) Cassava Processing Ghana Limited, which has designed a mobile processing unit (AMPU) that travels to the cassava growing regions and processes the root in situ, preserving the integrity of the starch. SABMiller already works with DADTCO in Mozambique where the same technology is used. This initiative is part of SABMiller’s ‘Farming Better Futures’ programme. Within the first year, ABL expects to source the cassava from as many as 1,500 smallholder farmers.
    Much of the cassava in Ghana is grown by subsistence farmers and there is an estimated 40% surplus each year partly because there is little opportunity for farmers to sell the produce in commercial markets. The launch of Eagle will provide an opportunity to turn locally grown cassava into a cash crop, allowing farmers to generate income whilst continuing to feed their families and, at the same time, reducing the crop’s surplus.
    Eagle will be sold in 375ml bottles at a price point equal to 70% of mainstream lager. This is made possible by a reduced excise rate agreed with the Ghanaian government in recognition of the use of locally-sourced commodities and the long-term contribution that Eagle is expected to make to agricultural and economic development in the country.
    (SABMiller plc)
    15.03.2013   SABMiller to begin construction of brewery in Namibia in April this year    ( Company news )

    SABMiller announces a US$40 million investment in a new 260,000 hectolitre brewery in Namibia as part of its strategy to expand its operations across Africa. The company expects to break ground on the new site in early April this year and the brewery is expected to be operational in the latter half of 2014.
    After some delay, the company recently received approval for the re-zoning of 7.2 hectares of land in Okahanjda where the brewery will be built and transfer of the land is expected in the next few weeks. The brewery will be designed to accommodate future growth and capacity expansion. In addition, the company plans to invest in a returnable bottle packaging line and warehousing facilities.
    SAB Managing Director, Mauricio Leyva, said the project had reached an important milestone: “We are most pleased that we are now going to be moving ahead with the construction of the brewery.
    “The local brewery will not only enable us to make more of our key brands available to consumers in the Namibian market, but it will also make a meaningful contribution to the Namibian economy once it is up and running.
    “Jobs will be created, our environmental impact on the country will be reduced as we shift to returnable bottles and we will build on our existing programmes to uplift the local community.”
    SABMiller has a long history in Namibia, having imported beers from South Africa to service the local market for more than two decades. The company has an estimated 22% of the local market, with popular brands including Castle Lager, Carling Black Label and Castle Lite. These will be brewed on the new site in Okahanjda.
    In 2010, SABMiller announced the establishment of SABMiller Nambia (Pty) Ltd to house its operations in Namibia. The entity reports as part of South Africa Breweries Limited (SAB Ltd), SABMiller’s wholly-owned South African business.
    SABMiller Namibia is 60% owned by SAB Ltd and 40% by local Namibian partners comprising 20% Onyewu Investments (Pty) Ltd and 20% by three charitable trusts for the benefit of local communities.
    (SABMiller plc)
    07.03.2013   MillerCoors Delivers 9.5% Underlying Net Income Growth For 2012    ( Company news )

    Favorable Mix and Strong Pricing Drove Positive Full Year Results, Despite Q4 Profit Decline

    SABMiller plc (LN:SAB; OTC:SABMRY) and Molson Coors Brewing Company (NYSE: TAP; TSX: TPX) reported that MillerCoors underlying net income grew 9.5 percent for the full year 2012 to $1.223 billion, while fourth quarter underlying net income decreased 4.2 percent to $185.8 million versus the same quarter in the prior year. Positive pricing and favorable sales mix drove strong profitability for the year, while increased marketing investment reduced fourth quarter earnings.
    “We delivered strong profit growth in 2012 while making significant marketing investments in the fourth quarter behind our brands,” said MillerCoors Chief Executive Officer Tom Long. “Our portfolio transformation strategy is delivering solid results. Coors Light, which is undoubtedly the healthiest major beer brand in the market, continued to show momentum and we led Craft share growth as Tenth and Blake delivered very strong results with Blue Moon and Leinenkugel’s.”

    Fourth Quarter and Full Year Highlights
    Unless otherwise indicated, all amounts are in U.S. dollars and calculated in accordance with U.S. GAAP. All percentages are versus the prior-year comparable period and include MillerCoors operations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Quarterly sales-to-retailers (STRs) results are presented on a trading-day-adjusted basis, as the fourth quarter of 2012 had one more trading day compared with the same quarter in the prior year.
    -Underlying net income (a non-GAAP measure) increased 9.5 percent to $1.223 billion for the year and decreased 4.2 percent to $185.8 million for the fourth quarter.
    -Total net sales increased 2.8 percent to $7.761 billion for the year and 1.7 percent to $1.784 billion for the quarter.
    -Domestic net revenue per barrel, excluding contract brewing and company-owned distributor sales, increased 3.5 percent for the year and 2.9 percent for the quarter.
    -Total cost of goods sold (COGS) per barrel increased 1.4 percent for the year and 1.6 percent for the quarter.
    -Domestic STRs decreased 1.3 percent for the year and 1.1 percent for the quarter.
    -Domestic sales-to-wholesalers (STWs) decreased 1.1 percent for the year and 1.3 percent for the quarter.

    Brand Highlights for the Fourth Quarter and Full Year
    Coors Light continued its momentum growing low-single digits for the quarter, outpacing the total category and the Premium Light segment which lost share in a flat industry. The brand enjoyed its eighth consecutive year of volume growth and MillerCoors will enter 2013 with a continued focus on multicultural outreach for Coors Light, including sponsorship of The Mexican Soccer League, Liga MX and the return of “Search for the Coldest” in partnership with Ice Cube. Building on the success of its packaging innovations, MillerCoors will launch the new Coors Light “World’s Most Refreshing Can” in the second quarter of 2013. Miller Lite declined mid-single digits for the quarter and low-single digits for the full year. We will continue to invest in the “It’s Miller Time” campaign and will launch a new iconic bottle for the on-premise in mid-2013, following the positive volume impact of the Miller Lite punch top can in 2012. Miller64 STRs were down low-single digits in the quarter and high-single digits for the full year. Volume trends on the brand have improved significantly since it’s re-positioning in the first quarter of 2012. MillerCoors Premium Light STRs declined low-single digits in the fourth quarter and for the full year.
    The MillerCoors Economy portfolio showed improvement for the fourth quarter over the prior two quarters in 2012, declining mid-single digits for the year and low-single digits for the quarter. Miller High Life continued its veterans program and will kick off a partnership with Harley Davidson in mid-2013. Keystone Light continued to drive its “Always Smooth” positioning primarily through digital engagement and localized marketing efforts. The brand will launch new packaging in early 2013.
    The Premium Regular portfolio showed its best performance since 2008, down low-single digits for the quarter and down mid-single digits for the year. Miller Genuine Draft’s double digit decline was partly offset by continued growth of Coors Banquet, the only national Premium Regular brand in the industry to gain market share in the quarter, versus prior year. Coors Banquet grew high-single digits for the quarter and mid-single digits for the year, delivering its sixth straight year of volume growth.

    Financial Highlights for the Fourth Quarter and Full Year
    Domestic net revenue per barrel grew 3.5 percent for the year and 2.9 percent for the quarter as a result of strong net pricing and favorable mix.
    Total company net revenue per barrel, including contract brewing and company-owned distributor sales, increased 3.3 percent for the full year and 2.9 percent for the quarter. Third-party contract brewing volumes were up 5.2 percent for the year and down 0.4 percent for the quarter.
    Total COGS per barrel increased 1.6 percent for the quarter, driven by commodity inflation and packaging innovation, partially offset by strong cost savings.
    Marketing, general and administrative costs increased 3.4 percent for the year and 6.4 percent for the quarter, driven primarily by increased marketing media investments in support of our premium light portfolio.
    In the fourth quarter, $25 million of cost savings were achieved, primarily related to procurement savings and brewery efficiencies.
    Depreciation and amortization expenses for MillerCoors in the fourth quarter were $70.3 million, and additions to tangible and intangible assets totaled $178.5 million.
    A $15.4 million write-off of Information Systems assets related to the Business Transformation project was recorded as a special item in the quarter.
    (SABMiller plc)
    04.03.2013   Canada: Molson Coors files lawsuit to maintain Miller Lite distribution rights     ( )

    Molson Coors Brewing Co. said it has filed a lawsuit in Canada seeking an injunction to prevent SABMiller PLC from terminating a pact that gives the brewer exclusive rights to distribute Miller Lite and other brews in that market, 4-traders reported on February, 26.

    Molson - which makes Coors Light and Carling - disclosed in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing that SABMiller's Wisconsin-based subsidiary, known as Miller Brewing Co., had told Molson in December it planned to terminate a license pact between the companies, citing a failure to meet certain volume targets.

    Following that conversation, Molson said it filed a lawsuit in Ontario, Canada, requesting an order that Miller "abide by its contractual terms". Molson claims Miller, which in January sent a written notice warning of plans to terminate the pact, breached the terms of the license agreement.

    A Molson spokesman declined to comment on the ongoing litigation. SABMiller representatives weren't immediately available to comment on the lawsuit.

    Canada is an important market for Molson, a region where it is the second-largest brewer by volume and commands 39% of the market. Molson sells its own products in that region as well as other brews under licensing pacts, including Heineken NV's namesake brand and Amstel Light and SABMiller's Miller Lite, Milwaukee's Best, among others.

    But the Canadian beer market is mature and competition is aggressive, as major brewers, foreign companies, and craft brewers fight for market share. Molson reported beer sales in the region dented last year by a 20% beer excise tax increase in Quebec and the National Hockey League lockout, which ended in January.

    In Molson's SEC filing, the company said it plans to "vigorously assert and defend our rights in this lawsuit," but conceded the company can't predict the outcome of the litigation, including any possible future asset impairment costs.

    Molson did warn the possible termination of the licensing agreement could have "an adverse impact on our Canadian volumes."
    30.01.2013   Sale of milk and juice business in Panama    ( Company news )

    SABMiller plc (“SABMiller”) announces that its subsidiary in Panama, Cervecería Nacional, S.A. has agreed to sell its milk and juice business to La Cooperativa de Productores de Leche Dos Pinos R.L. (“Dos Pinos”) for a total cash consideration of US$86.0m.
    Fernando Zavala, President of Cervecería Nacional, S.A., commented: “The milk and juice business is a legacy asset from the Bavaria transaction. The divestment will allow us to simplify our business processes and focus on beer and carbonated soft drinks in Panama, where we are the market leader in beer. We hold in high regard the people and brands of the milk and juice business, and we believe that the business will continue to have a bright future under the ownership of Dos Pinos.”
    Completion of the transaction is subject to approval from the Panama competition authority (the Authority for Consumer Protection and the Defense of Competition).
    (SABMiller plc)
    03.12.2012   UK: Introduction of minimum price for alcohol will hit responsible drinkers in low-income families    ( )

    The introduction of a minimum price for alcohol will unfairly hit responsible drinkers in low-income families, while doing nothing to change the drinking habits of problem drinkers, SABMiller plc, the world’s second-largest brewer, said on November, 28 in response to the launch of the consultation on the UK Government’s alcohol strategy.
    Pointing to statistics which show that high-income consumers are the most likely to regularly drink more alcohol than the Government’s recommended weekly limit, SABMiller said a minimum price of 45p per unit would impact on lower-income responsible drinkers more.

    Research looking at different types of drinker shows that:
    The bottom 30 percent of households according to income (up to £14,378 a year), have the greatest proportion of moderate drinkers. This group tends to buy cheaper products and will be most affected by minimum pricing.
    The top 20 percent (£61,958+ a year) have the greatest proportion of hazardous and harmful drinkers, yet this group spends, on average, over £0.70 per unit of alcohol.
    The heaviest drinkers are the least responsive to changes in price. A minimum price of 45p would lead a hazardous drinker to reduce their intake by roughly a pint of beer a week (2.7 units).
    Hazardous drinkers are defined by the Government as men who drink 22-50 units a week and women who drink 15-35 units, while harmful drinkers are defined as those who drink over 50 units (for men) and over 35 (for women).
    SABMiller urges the Government to look at better targeted policies which would genuinely help harmful and hazardous drinkers. Mike Short, SABMiller’s Senior Vice President of Industry Affairs, said:
    “There’s a lot in the Government’s alcohol strategy which we agree with, for example local authorities being given more power to deal with anti-social drinking and a greater focus on targeted prevention programmes. As a brewer we also recognise the importance of our role in promoting sensible drinking, particularly when it comes to the responsible marketing of our products. However, we cannot support an unfair and ineffective policy which will be yet another tax on low-income responsible drinkers.”
    In addition to concerns about its effectiveness as a policy, SABMiller also believes that government intervention in the market will have a number of unintended consequences for consumers. Gary Haigh, Managing Director of Miller Brands, SABMiller’s subsidiary company in the UK, said:
    “If minimum pricing comes in, consumers, particularly those with a limited budget, will be faced with far less choice when they look at the supermarket shelves. ‘Own label’ products are likely to disappear because they can’t compete at the same price against branded products and producers who import into the UK could pull out because it’s no longer a competitive market. It could also make things even worse for our great British pub heritage. It’s already been badly affected by the trend towards at-home drinking and if people have a set budget they’ll have less to spend in the pub.”
    20.11.2012   Latin America: SABMiller achieving strong growth with malt drinks    ( )

    SABMiller Plc is brewing strong growth in pockets of Latin America with non-alcoholic malt drinks that expand the beer maker's target audience beyond adults and mark baby steps into a soft drink market dominated by Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, Reuters reported on November, 14.
    Malt drinks, which look like cola but have a strong bready character, have been popular in Colombia and Venezuela for ages, but are catching on quickly in other Latin American markets, even as consumer spending is crimped in some markets by economic weakness.
    SABMiller, the No. 2 brewer worldwide but No. 3 in Latin America, is also exploring complementary products like shandies and ciders, which are gaining popularity in the United States, as it navigates an economy that is still growing, but less than before.
    "It's not that we're running off to other beverage categories. The core of our growth opportunity is beer," said Karl Lippert, president of SABMiller Latin America, in an interview last week at his new Miami office. But malt, he said, is "a lovely business".
    "It's entirely complementary to the beer business because you make the wort as if you're making beer and then you finish off the product without the fermentation process," Lippert said of the liquid extract made from ground malt and grain. "It's quite a unique phenomenon."
    Other brewers, including the region's No. 1 and No. 2 players, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Heineken, respectively, also sell malt drinks, which are more easily made by brewers than traditional soft drink makers since they are made from the same liquid as beer, just bottled before fermentation turns sugar to alcohol.
    SAB's most established malt market is Colombia, where its Pony Malta has been a staple for over 50 years. It is the nation's second-largest soft drink, with market share of around 9 percent, Lippert said. SABMiller also sells Pony in Ecuador, ActiMalta in Honduras and El Salvador, Malta Vigor in Panama and Maltin Power in Peru.
    The drinks are popular with mothers and children, since they have various nutrients and are viewed as healthy. They are also popular with construction workers who often use them as meal replacements, he said.
    Malt drinks account for about 3.4 million hectolitres, or about 6 percent, of the volume SABMiller sells in Latin America, Lipper said. He expects to reach 5 million hectolitres in the next three years.
    That implies growth of about 50 percent, which will far outpace that of beer. In the six months ended September 30, SABMiller's sales of lager in Latin American rose 4 percent.
    The company also recently launched Maltizz in Colombia, which has a light straw color and is meant to be lighter and more refreshing than traditional malts. Lippert said Maltizz, which tastes like a cross between a Pony Malta and a lemon-lime soda, is so far performing well.
    Malt is also very popular in Venezuela, where it is made by Empresas Polar. Other brands made by rivals are sold in the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. They can also be found in some U.S. cities including Miami and New York.
    SABMiller also sells about 500,000 hectoliters of malt drinks in Africa, where it introduced them in 2010.
    Overall, London-based SABMiller is more focused on growing organically, with its own development, rather than moving into new markets through acquisitions.
    "We think we have significant potential to grow in our existing markets because consumption in our markets is relatively low," said Lippert in a 34th-floor conference room overlooking Biscayne Bay.
    AB InBev controls more than half of the Latin American market, helped by a big presence in Brazil. It also plans to buy the half of Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo that it does not already own. Heineken has nearly 16 percent of the market, since buying the beer division of Mexico's Femsa in 2010.
    Brazil and Mexico together account for some two-thirds of the Latin American beer market, Lippert said.
    The remaining third is where SABMiller plays, deriving its 14 percent of the Latin American beer market through leading positions in the smaller nations of Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Honduras and El Salvador.
    Aside from beer, SABMiller sells Coca-Cola drinks in Honduras and El Salvador and PepsiCo drinks in Panama, giving it access to bottled water, juices and iced teas.
    Within soft drinks, Coca-Cola is the region's leader, with nearly 36 percent of the market, according to Euromonitor International. PepsiCo is second with 12 percent, while France's Danone is third with 11 percent.
    Some beer markets not already dominated by another international player are Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Venezuela, Lippert said. He did not rule out acquisitions by SABMiller but said some of those markets were either too small or too volatile.
    "Business is not just about buying things," Lippert said. "You also have to cook at home."
    01.11.2012   SABMiller - Senior Management Changes    ( Company news )

    SABMiller announces that Norman Adami, currently Chairman and Managing Director of The South African Breweries (Pty) Limited, will be promoted to the new role of Chairman, SABMiller Beverages South Africa with effect from 7 January 2013. In his new role, Adami will assume overall strategic responsibility for SABMiller's beverage businesses in South Africa, and will continue as a member of the Group Executive Committee.

    Commenting on the appointment, Alan Clark, Chief Operating Officer, said:
    “Norman has for a number of years carried the role of Chairman and Managing Director of SAB and Chairman of our other beverage interests in South Africa. Throughout this period he has shown strong leadership and has continued to build our beer and soft drink operations. Given the continuing strategic importance of our operations in South Africa, we have decided to appoint a new Managing Director to run the beer business, who will report to Norman and free him up to play a more strategic and influential role in the further development of our beverage businesses in South Africa, as well as our ongoing operations in Namibia.
    “I would like to thank Norman for his many years of inspirational leadership both in South Africa and as a member of the SABMiller Executive Committee, and for his willingness to continue guiding, influencing and building our South African beverage operations.”
    The new Managing Director of Beer South Africa will be Mauricio Leyva Arboleda, the current President of SABMiller’s business in Peru, Union de Cervecerias Peruanas Backus y Johnston S.A.A. (Backus). Leyva has been with the SABMiller group since the merger with Grupo Empresarial Bavaria in 2005. He was Vice President of Marketing for Bavaria SA in Colombia before being appointed in March 2009 as President of Cerveceria Hondurena S.A., the group’s beer and soft drinks business in Honduras, and was appointed as President of Backus in October 2011. He will take up his new appointment on 7 January 2013.
    Leyva (42) is a Colombian national. Prior to joining Bavaria in 2005, Leyva worked in senior commercial roles at Avianca, Colombia’s leading airline, and at COMCEL, Colombia’s leading telecoms company. He began his career with McKinsey & Co in Germany, after graduating with a degree in Business Administration from the University of Los Andes in Colombia, and has a Masters in International Management from the Université de Nancy in France. He is married, with three children.

    Commenting on this appointment, Norman Adami said:
    “Mauricio is one of SABMiller’s best operators worldwide, and his skills, leadership and track record make him a great choice to carry forward our strategy here in South Africa. His appointment reflects the strength of SABMiller as a truly global developer of strong executive leadership”.
    Other consequential appointments will be announced in due course.
    (SABMiller plc)
    12.10.2012   SABMiller - Senior Management Change    ( Company news )

    Company news SABMiller plc has appointed Catherine May (photo) as its new Director of Corporate Affairs. She will join the group on 15 October 2012, assuming responsibility for media, investor relations, political affairs, corporate affairs, corporate social responsibility and internal communications. She will be a member of SABMiller’s Executive Committee, reporting to Executive Chairman Graham Mackay.
    Catherine joins SABMiller from Centrica plc, where she served as Corporate Affairs Director from 2006 until December 2011, having previously been Group Director of Corporate Relations at the information publishing group Reed Elsevier. Before joining Reed Elsevier, Catherine was a partner at issues management consultancy Luther Pendragon, where she advised a number of blue chip clients in the UK and internationally.

    Commenting on Catherine’s appointment, Graham Mackay, Executive Chairman, said:
    “I am very pleased to welcome Catherine to SABMiller, and delighted that we have been able to attract such a high calibre executive. With her extensive international corporate affairs and communications experience, she will make a great contribution to our performance as one of the world’s leading brewers, leading the strong corporate affairs function built up by Sue Clark, and continuing to develop the critical capabilities which help to grow our business sustainably for the benefit of all of our stakeholders.”

    Catherine May said:
    "I am delighted to have the opportunity to join the team at SABMiller. The group has long been admired as a global leader in doing business locally, with strong and sustainable businesses that contribute to their local economies. I am very much looking forward to doing my part in building on its great strengths and proven capabilities.”

    Catherine is married with two children. She is a non-executive director of English National Opera and a trustee of the UK National Funding Platform and of the Foundation for World Capitals of Culture. She succeeds Sue Clark who was appointed in June 2012 as Managing Director of SABMiller Europe, having served as the group’s Corporate Affairs Director since 2003.
    (SABMiller plc)
    27.09.2012   World: SABMiller investing in increasing shelf life of beer in plastic bottles    ( )

    Scientists at CRANN, a nanoscience institute based at Trinity College Dublin, have partnered with brewing company SABMiller on a project to increase the shelf life of bottled beer in plastic bottles. The new deal will see SABMiller invest in the project over a two year period, R & D Magazine reported on September, 18.

    Professor Jonathan Coleman and his team in CRANN are using nanoscience research methods to develop a new material that will prolong the shelf-life of beer in plastic bottles. Current plastic bottles have a relatively short shelf life, as both oxygen and carbon dioxide can permeate the plastic and diminish the flavour.

    The new material, when added to plastic bottles, will make them extremely impervious, meaning that oxygen cannot enter and that the carbon dioxide cannot escape, thus preserving the taste and "fizz".

    The team will exfoliate nano-sheets of boron nitride, each with a thickness of approximately 50,000 times thinner than one human hair. These nano-sheets will be mixed with plastic, which will result in a material that is extremely impervious to gas molecules. The molecules will be unable to diffuse through the material and shelf life will be increased.

    As well as increasing the shelf life of the beer itself, less material is required in production, reducing cost and environmental impact.

    Professor Coleman’s technique which involves the exfoliation of boron nitride, and other layered materials, has been published in leading publication, Science.
    04.09.2012   Africa: Intense religiosity not stopping beer sales growth    ( )

    Beer sales in Africa are surging because of economic and population growth, a trend rubbing against the grain of another demographic factor defining the region: intense religiosity, Reuters reported on August, 31.

    By almost any measure, Africa is an exceptionally devout place and the major growth area for Christianity and Islam.

    This should have implications for investors, especially in the fast-growing retail and beer sectors: they must navigate sacred sensitivities in areas such as marketing and factor the faithful into forecasts and demographic profiles for the continent's population of just over a billion.

    Brewing executives have said they tone down their advertising campaigns in Africa, and these do tend to be conservative.

    In Nigeria for example, scantily-clad women tend not to feature on billboards promoting beer brands. Instead, a man in a suit is portrayed sipping a refreshing cold lager, or more often than not the ad shows just a giant bottle and glass.

    According to a 2010 report by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, the number of Muslims living in Sub-Saharan Africa rose 20-fold from 1900 to 234 million.

    Christianity has grown at an even more blistering pace, with numbers soaring almost 70-fold over the same period of time to 470 million from just 7 million.

    And in the case of Christianity, much of this growth has been concentrated in Pentecostal churches and other evangelical denominations which, like Islam, tend to frown on alcohol.

    The Pew survey also questioned people in 19 African countries about their views on alcohol consumption and found that majorities in all but 3 countries - Cameroon, Chad and Democratic Republic of Congo - found it morally objectionable.

    "Views on this issue are related to how religious a person is," said Neha Sahgal, a Pew research associate.

    "What we found is that in most of the countries those who pray several times a day are more likely to find drinking alcohol morally objectionable than those who pray less," she told Reuters in a phone interview.

    Against this backdrop of piety, the conservative approach to advertising seems to be working.

    Home to some of the world's fastest growing economies, Africa's thirst for beer and spirits is surging: analysts estimate beer volumes rose around 7 percent last year. Excluding the mature South African market, growth reached more than 10 percent.

    Drinks companies want to maintain the momentum.

    SABMiller is investing up to $2.5 billion over the next five years to build and renovate breweries on the continent. African sales of rival Diageo, the maker of Guinness, have risen by an average 15 percent in each of the last five years, accounting for 14 percent of the group's total.

    Nigeria's 160 million people are now the world's second biggest consumer of Guinness, after Britain, and analysts expect it to take the number one slot within a couple of years. Cameroon, with a much smaller population of around 20 million, is the fifth biggest.

    In Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, which is evenly divided between Islam and Christianity, church and mosque numbers are exploding alongside beer consumption.

    Beer turnover in Nigeria is growing faster than its economy.

    "At the moment, beer consumption is about 19.5 million hectolitres in 2012 and growing at about 8-9 percent per annum," said Esili Eigbe, an analyst at Stanbic IBTC, who covers the brewery sector.

    A number of factors could explain this.

    Africa's population is young and many of the region's converts find their religious zeal only as they grow a little older. In any case, most people's drinking peaks in their 20s.

    And a lot of Africans, like a lot of people on other continents, are both religious and thirsty.

    "People's sense of morality sometimes doesn't correspond with their behaviour. This is not unique to Africa," said Sahgal, an expert on polling on religious issues.

    Some Africans are perfectly comfortable with this fact.

    "Islam advises against alcohol but does not force you. I drink to help me relax after a hard day's work," said Wasiu Abudu, a 42-year-old auto mechanic who lives in Lagos.

    Pricing, Brand Mix and Cost Controls Drive Positive Results

    SABMiller plc (SAB.L) and Molson Coors Brewing Company (NYSE: TAP; TSX: TPX) reported that MillerCoors second quarter underlying net income increased 9.1 percent to $436.0 million versus prior year, driven by positive pricing, favorable brand mix and cost management.
    “As our major summer marketing programs kicked off during the second quarter, we saw sequential improvement in retail sales on our premium light brands, highlighted by the strong growth of Coors Light,” said MillerCoors Chief Executive Tom Long. “We also delivered double digit growth from Tenth and Blake as we scale brands like Blue Moon and Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy to meet changing consumer tastes. Positive brand mix shifts – combined with our continued attention to cost control and sharp revenue management – were key to delivering another profitable quarter. We continue to make progress against our strategy of strengthening our core business, while evolving our portfolio to match consumer demand.”

    Second Quarter Highlights
    Unless otherwise indicated, all amounts are in U.S. dollars and calculated in accordance with U.S. GAAP. All percentages are versus the prior-year comparable period and include MillerCoors operations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
    o Underlying net income (a non-GAAP measure) increased 9.1 percent to $436.0 million.
    o Total net sales increased 4.3 percent to $2.224 billion.
    o Domestic net revenue per barrel, excluding contract brewing and company-owned distributor sales, increased 3.6 percent.
    o Total cost of goods sold (COGS) per barrel increased 2.5 percent.

    MillerCoors domestic sales-to-retailers (STRs) were down 1.4 percent, a slight improvement versus the first quarter trend as the U.S. economic environment remained challenging and unemployment among our key consumer demographics worsened. Domestic sales-to-wholesalers (STWs) increased 0.3 percent.

    Brand Highlights for the Second Quarter
    Premium Light STRs were virtually unchanged in the second quarter versus prior year, an improvement compared to the first quarter 2012. Coors Light continued to post solid results, leading all major premium light brands with low-single digit growth for the quarter. Innovations such as the Coors Light Silver Bullet Aluminum Pint have contributed significant new volume to the brand. In the early stages of the new “It’s Miller Time” campaign, Miller Lite declined low-single digits, while showing incremental trend improvement versus the first quarter. Twelve and 16 oz. can sales have increased in the low-single digits for the brand, attributable to the launch of the Punch Top Can innovation. Miller64 declined low-double digits as new branding, packaging and marketing programs rolled out nationally.
    Tenth and Blake Beer Company continued to grow the MillerCoors craft and import portfolio by double digits in the quarter driven primarily by Leinenkugel’s. The Leinenkugel’s franchise is leading the craft segment in share growth, primarily via double-digit growth of Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy. Blue Moon also continued to show strong volume growth. Peroni Nastro Azzurro grew mid-single digits and continued to show strength.
    The Below Premium portfolio declined mid-single digits, as the company maintained competitive price gaps between Premium and Below Premium brands. Miller High Life continued to build brand awareness with its “Welcome Veterans Back to the High Life” program and the unveiling of its new red, white and blue packaging. Keystone Light continued to drive its “Always Smooth” positioning through digital engagement.
    The Premium Regular portfolio was down mid-single digits with a double-digit decline by Miller Genuine Draft partly offset by mid-single-digit growth of Coors Banquet.

    Financial Highlights for the Second Quarter
    Domestic net revenue per barrel grew 3.6 percent as a result of strong net pricing and favorable mix.
    Total company net revenue per barrel, including contract brewing and company-owned distributor sales, increased 3.4 percent. Third-party contract brewing volumes were up 6.7 percent.
    Total COGS per barrel increased 2.5 percent driven by packaging innovation, brand premiumization and brewing material costs, partially offset by tight cost control and savings initiatives.
    Marketing, general and administrative costs increased 3.1 percent, driven by slightly increased marketing spending related to the Miller64 brand re-launch and increased spending behind new products and packaging innovations, partially offset by lower information systems costs.
    In the second quarter, $32 million of cost savings were achieved versus prior year, primarily within the integrated supply chain.
    Depreciation and amortization expenses for MillerCoors in the second quarter were $73.0 million and additions to tangible and intangible assets totaled $47.6 million.
    During the second quarter, special items reflect the benefit of a $2.3 million pension curtailment gain.
    (Molson Coors Brewing Company)
    06.08.2012   China: World’s most popular beer, Snow is hardly ever known of outside China    ( )

    Belgium-based Anheuser-Busch InBev is the world's largest brewer. And its top brand isn't Budweiser - it's actually Bud Light. Even so, Bud Light is only the world's second-most popular beer, Street Authority posted on August, 2.

    The correct answer is a product some people haven’t ever heard of - Snow beer, the most popular beer in China.

    Snow is a product of China Resources Snow Breweries, a joint venture owned by U.K.-based SABMiller and Chinese conglomerate China Resources Enterprise.

    Snow is estimated to control 5% of the global beer market by sales volume, more than both Bud Light and Budweiser combined. Five percent may not sound like much, but it comes to more than 17 billion bottles of beer a year.

    In the past few months, companies that produce alcohol have been on a tear. Thanks to global economic concerns, investors have flocked to this stable corner of the market. Of course, this is nothing new. Defensive stocks tend to do well in a volatile market.

    But what most people don't realize is that some of the world's best defensive stocks aren't based in the United States.

    As disposable income and middle classes expand in China and other emerging markets, so does demand for goods and services, including alcohol and tobacco products.

    In the case of beer, China is by far the largest beer market in the world, more than twice the size of the United States, the world's No. 2, with 6.3 billion gallons in annual sales.

    And while sales languish in the United States (down 1% in 2011, according to the Brewers Association, a trade group) and much of the West, sales are on the rise in China and other emerging-market countries - and they have plenty of room to run.

    On a per-capita basis, Chinese consumers drink just a little more than 37 litres of beer per year, compared with 77 litres in the United States, 72 in Brazil and 115 for Germany.

    That's good news for SABMiller, the world's second-largest brewer.

    In the fiscal year ending March 31, more than three-fourths of SABMiller's earnings before interest, taxes depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) came from emerging markets.

    About a third of SABMiller's EBITDA originated in Latin America, and the company had the strongest position of any brewer in the fast-growing African market. Of course, it also owns a large stake in the world's most-popular beer, Snow. All told, SABMiller owns more than 200 individual beer brands.

    Better yet, since the start of June the shares are up 21%.
    06.08.2012   Russia: Government may consider further increase in beer taxes    ( )

    Russian president Vladimir Putin has raised the prospect of a further increase in beer taxes as part of his government’s long-running campaign to curb drinking, The Drinks Business reported on August, 2.

    The reaction from the markets was swift. Carlsberg fell 5.4%, SABMiller ended the day down 1%. AB InBev dropped 3.2%.

    “Beer alcoholism is a serious problem … We could raise beer taxes further,” Putin said at a forum of pro-Kremlin youth groups.

    At the beginning of 2012 Russian taxes on beer rose by 20% and according to a Finance Ministry plan, approved late in 2011, they will rise by a further 25% in 2013 and 20% in 2014.

    Meeting with Russian youth on July, 31, the president signalled that the state might crack down further on Russian beer consumption – and the markets did the rest.

    Putin’s comments were not as harsh as the market drops would seem to suggest.

    Producers are also about to get hit by a new federal law that will forbid retail beer sales from 11pm to 8am beginning January 1 – a rude awakening for those who enjoy Russia’s outdoor drinking culture.
    26.03.2012   Coopers reportedly tipped to tie up a distribution deal for Carlsberg and Kronenbourg beers    ( )

    South Australian brewer Coopers is tipped to tie up a distribution deal for the Carlsberg and Kronenbourg beer brands, The Shout reported on March, 23.

    The low-volume Carlsberg Group brands are currently distributed by Foster’s, but would appear to be competing in the same market segment as the SABMiller company’s proprietary European imports, Grolsch and Pilsner Urquell, which became part of the Foster’s portfolio in December.

    The Danish Carlsberg Group is known to have been shopping the brands around in recent months and its options for distribution are somewhat limited.

    Having recently inked the heavyweight Corona deal, Lion’s attentions are clearly elsewhere and a distribution agreement with Carlsberg would not be an attractive option for either party.

    Coopers is believed to have expressed an interest in the import brands, which appealingly for Carlsberg, would have the SA brewer’s undivided attention, and would require distribution on a scale Coopers could easily handle.

    Last year Coopers began brewing Japanese Sapporo beer at its Regency Park brewery.

    In September 2009, Coopers ceased distributing Budweiser through Premium Beverages after a six-year agreement when Anheuser-Busch was taken over by Belgian brewer InBev.

    Coopers also distributed Grolsch from late 2007 until May 2008 when the Dutch beer company was taken over by SABMiller.

    A Coopers spokesperson declined to comment.
    12.03.2012   Canada: Molson Coors to launch Coors Light Iced Tea and other new products soon    ( )

    Molson Coors Brewing Co said on March, 6 it will launch Coors Light Iced Tea and other new products, as the beer company fights to win a greater share of the struggling beer market.

    Molson executives said during a meeting with analysts that the new products should help spur sales so the company can put less reliance on cost-cutting to drive its profit. It also seeks to make beer more attractive to people who have moved on to wine or cocktails, Reuters reported.

    "Someone else is eating our lunch in the alcohol space," Molson Coors Chief Executive Peter Swinburn said at the meeting, which was broadcast over the Internet.

    Coors Light Iced Tea will go on sale first in Canada, where consumers are interested in flavored beers and other refreshing drinks, Molson executives said. They did not, however, rule out an expansion into the United States.

    Other new products include Carling Zest, a limited-time-only beer with citrus flavors and an autumn-inspired Leinenkugels beer.

    Molson Coors, which is aggressively pursuing the market for craft beers through its Tenth and Blake unit, said its new craft beer Batch 19, is performing better than it expected. With additional roll-outs planned for April, the new beer should be available in over 40 U.S. markets by fall, the company said.

    Molson, whose core brands include Molson Canadian, Coors Light and Blue Moon, said it will spend more this year on marketing, given its new products.

    Unlike its larger rivals Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller, which have large businesses in developing and emerging markets, Molson's sales are concentrated in the mature markets of Canada, Britain and the United States.

    But the company said this week it wants to accelerate growth in developing markets. It will also focus on China, Russia, India and Ukraine, and on the beers Coors Light, Carling and Cobra.

    At present, Molson's international division accounts for about 3 percent of its worldwide volume, but the company said its goal is for that unit to become a "significant contributor" to sales volume and profit growth by 2015.

    Last month, Molson reported fourth-quarter profit that blew past Wall Street estimates, as price increases, cost savings and an extra selling week helped offset weak sales volume.
    07.03.2012   MillerCoors Delivers 32.5% Growth In Underlying Net Income For The Fourth Quarter    ( Company news )

    Company news SABMiller plc (SAB.L) and Molson Coors Brewing Company(NYSE: TAP; TSX) reported that MillerCoors fourth quarter underlying net income increased 32.5 percent to $194.0 million versus the fourth quarter 2010. Despite a weak economy and low consumer confidence, the brewer reported a 2.7 percent increase in underlying net income for 2011.
    "By raising the bar on execution, increasing net revenue per barrel and over-delivering on our synergy and cost savings goal, we grew underlying profit in a tough year," said MillerCoors Chief Executive Officer Tom Long. "In 2011, we grew Coors Light to become the nation's second biggest beer brand, surpassing Budweiser for the first time ever. We also saw strong growth in our craft and import brands like Blue Moon, Leinenkugel's and Peroni Nastro Azzurro and we improved our brand mix. Our investment with retail chains is paying off as our distributors execute against new category management approaches with focus and discipline."

    Fourth Quarter and Year End Highlights
    Unless otherwise indicated, all amounts are in U.S. dollars and calculated in accordance with U.S. GAAP. All percentages are versus the prior-year comparable period and include MillerCoors operations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. All sales to retail results are presented on a trading-day-adjusted basis, as the fourth quarter and full year 2011 had one fewer trading day than the prior year periods.
    -Underlying net income (a non-GAAP measure) increased 32.5 percent to $194.0 million for the quarter and increased 2.7 percent to $1.117 billion for the year.
    -Total net sales increased 2.0 percent to $1.754 billion for the quarter, but declined 0.3 percent to $7.550 billion for the year.
    -Domestic net revenue per barrel, excluding contract brewing and company-owned distributor sales, increased 2.9 percent for the quarter and 2.4 percent for the year.
    -MillerCoors domestic sales-to-retailers (STRs) were down 3.3 percent for the quarter and 2.3 percent for the year.
    -Domestic sales-to-wholesalers (STWs) were down 1.6 percent for the quarter and 3.0 percent for the year.
    -Total cost of goods sold (COGS) per barrel increased 0.9 percent for the quarter and 2.0 percent for the year.
    Brand Highlights for the Fourth Quarter
    Premium Light STRs were down low-single digits in the fourth quarter as Coors Light declined low-single digits while Miller Lite declined mid-single digits and MGD 64 declined double-digits.

    Tenth and Blake Beer Company grew the MillerCoors Craft and Import portfolio by double digits in the quarter driven by a double digit increase in Blue Moon and strong growth of Leinenkugel's and Peroni Nastro Azzurro. Blue Moon Belgian White is now the nation's largest craft brand. Peroni Nastro Azzurro continues to deliver mid-single digit growth, primarily through the on-premise channel.
    The Below Premium portfolio declined mid-single digits, as the company reduced price gaps between Premium and Below Premium beers.
    The Premium Regular portfolio was down high-single digits with a double-digit decline by Miller Genuine Draft offset somewhat by low-single digit growth of Coors Banquet.

    Financial Highlights for the Fourth Quarter and Full Year
    For the quarter, MillerCoors total net sales increased 2.0 percent to $1.754 billion. Full year total net sales declined 0.3 percent to $7.550 billion.
    Domestic net producer revenue per barrel grew 2.9 percent for the quarter and 2.4 percent for the year, primarily due to front line pricing and favorable brand mix.
    Total company net producer revenue per barrel, including contract brewing and company-owned distributor sales, increased by 2.3 percent for the quarter and 2.6 percent for the year. Third-party contract brewing volumes were up by 11.2 percent in the quarter but declined 0.1 percent for the year.
    Total COGS per barrel increased 0.9 percent for the quarter and 2.0 percent for the year driven by higher freight costs, packaging innovations, brand mix and commodity inflation. Increases in these areas were partially offset by continued cost savings.
    Marketing, general and administrative (MG&A) costs decreased 3.7 percent for the quarter to $455.1 million. For the year, MG&A costs decreased 0.4 percent to $1.769 billion for the year, primarily as a result of the successful completion of our synergy and cost reduction programs.
    Depreciation and amortization expenses for MillerCoors in the fourth quarter were $70.7 million and additions to tangible and intangible assets totaled $130.5 million.
    There were no special charges during the fourth quarter.

    Synergies and Cost Savings for the Fourth Quarter and Full Year
    In the fourth quarter, $27 million of cost savings were realized, driven by various initiatives primarily within the integrated supply chain. The three year MillerCoors synergy initiative concluded on June 30, 2011, delivering cumulative synergies of $546 million. To date, cumulative cost savings have risen to $219 million, bringing the company's combined synergies and cost savings to $765 million, achieving the goal of $750 million in total savings a full year earlier than planned.
    (SABMiller plc)

    27.02.2012   SABMiller to double capacity in Uganda with construction of new US$80m brewery    ( Company news )

    Company news SABMiller plc [SAB:LSE/SAB:JNB] today announces a US$80m investment in a new brewery at its Ugandan subsidiary, Nile Breweries (NBL), doubling the company's design capacity to 3.6m hectolitres by 2013. The new brewery will be constructed in Mbarara in western Uganda, the fastest-growing regional beer market in the country, with the site chosen as the optimum location to meet the increasing local demand.
    The development of the new brewery follows a US$29m investment to expand capacity at the existing Jinja site in 2009 and a cumulative US$25.6m investment to develop maltings and effluent treatment plants in 2011, bringing the total capex for the country to over US$130m over the last three years.
    The total Ugandan beer market is also in significant growth, up 28% for the 12 months to the end of December 2011, driven by strong economic growth and population expansion. Average per capita beer consumption is still relatively low at around 8 litres per year, compared to an average of around 60 litres in South Africa.
    The Mbarara site will employ around 140 people directly and will brew the bulk of NBL's portfolio of beers, including Nile Special, Club Pilsener, Eagle Extra and Eagle Lager. Eagle beers are currently brewed using sorghum, a locally grown crop sourced from 9,000 smallholder farmers. The new brewery in Mbarara will provide an additional market opportunity for farmers in the Ankole and Kigezi regions, near Mbarara. It is anticipated that a total of 26,000 jobs will be supported in the wider economyi by the new brewery.
    Mark Bowman, Managing Director of SABMiller Africa, said: "This is a tremendous development for Nile Breweries and demonstrates our commitment to further investing in Africa. The Mbarara Brewery will double our country-wide production capacity, create a significant number of jobs in the local economy and provide a secure revenue stream for local farmers. The development is also testament to the success of our local raw material sourcing strategy in Uganda, which has provided a blueprint for other operations across Africa, most recently with the world's first commercial cassava-based beer in Mozambique."
    The development site is on the banks of the River Rwizi which will provide the water source for the brewery. The project includes state-of-the-art water and effluent treatment and will support SABMiller's group-wide aim to increase its water efficiency.
    (SABMiller plc)

    30.01.2012   SABMiller and Anadolu Efes sign definitive agreement to form strategic alliance    ( Company news )

    SABMiller plc., Anadolu Group (Anadolu Endüstri Holding A.Ş., Yazıcılar Holding A.Ş. and Özilhan Sınai Yatırım A.Ş.), and Anadolu Efes (Anadolu Efes Biracılık ve Malt Sanayii A.Ş.) announce that they have signed the definitive transaction agreement for the formation of their strategic alliance for Turkey, Russia, the CIS, Central Asia and the Middle East, which was originally announced on 19 October 2011. Completion of the transaction is subject to receipt of the necessary regulatory approvals.
    (SABMiller plc)
    23.01.2012   SABMiller launches China trial for Miller Genuine Draft    ( Company news )

    Company news SABMiller plc (SAB.L), one of the world's leading brewers, announced that ("CR Snow") China Resources Snow Breweries Limited, its joint venture with China Resources Enterprise Limited ("CRE"), is launching a trial of SABMiller's international premium brand, Miller Genuine Draft, in the Zhejiang region of China.
    The introduction of Miller Genuine Draft into the Zhejiang market gives the company the opportunity to test the potential for its international brand with a premium beer imported from the USA.
    The joint venture has achieved significant growth for local brand ‘Snow', which is both the largest beer brand in China and in the world by volume. CR Snow had a 21% share of the Chinese beer market with sales of more than 92 million hectolitres (1 hectolitre = 100 litres) in 2010.
    CR Snow is the exclusive importer and will utilise its existing infrastructure to service the market, with Miller Genuine Draft initially available in Hangzhou and Wenzhou following a launch event was held in Hangzhou on 16th January.
    Ari Mervis, SABMiller's Managing Director, Asia Pacific, said: "This is an exciting opportunity to introduce one of our international brands into the fast-growing premium segment in China in a way which takes advantage of CR Snow's strong market position in the region."
    Zhejiang is one of the largest markets in Central China and its capital, Hangzhou, has one of the highest GDPs of the provincial large cities.
    (SABMiller plc)
    09.01.2012   France: SABMiller to launch Belgian specialty beer St Stefanus    ( )

    World’s No. 2 brewer SABMiller has decided to launch Belgian specialty beer St Stefanus in France, reported on January, 5.

    The unpasteurised abbey beer is produced by Van Steenberge brewery, with which SABMiller signed a distribution deal last year, and is distributed in Belgium under the name of d’Augustijn.

    In France, the beer will be available in 33 cl and 75 cl bottles.

    SABMiller already launched St Stefanus in the United Kingdom at the end of last year.
    19.12.2011   Brazil: SABMiller to launch Pilsner Urquell, expand market for Miller Genuine Draft    ( )

    World’s second-largest brewer SABMiller plc is launching the iconic Czech beer Pilsner Urquell in the southern regions of Brazil early next year, Economia reported on December, 12.
    Pilsner Urquell is the second of SABMiller’s brands introduced in Brazil this year, after the launch of Miller Genuine Draft in January 2011.
    Miller Genuine Draft, available in the state of Rio Grande do Sul since the beginning of this year, Santa Catarina in October and will be officially introduced to São Paulo consumers at a party on December, 17, it is reported.
    01.12.2011   President Barroso urges “smart regulation” to boost growth, in speech at Brewers gala    ( Company news )

    BRUSSELS, 23 November 2011: Europe needs fiscal belt-tightening coupled with growth-enhancing measures to pull itself out of crisis, including “smart regulation” that doesn’t shackle businesses like the brewing sector, European Commission President Jose-Manuel Barroso said, speaking at The Brewers of Europe’s EU headquarters on Tuesday night.

    “These fiscal consolidation measures, they are unavoidable,” Barroso said shortly after meeting with Italy’s new Prime Minister Mario Monti. “As leaders of the business community I’m sure you understand that. It would be unthinkable for your companies to do what some governments have been doing.”

    But Barroso, speaking to some 300 top beer executives, policymakers and the media, also said the EU had “systemic problems” and must promote growth by making the single market more flexible, and “to ensure that regulation doesn’t overburden business.”

    “I would like to commend the efforts of your sector to introduce self-regulation to promote responsible beer advertising across Europe” Barroso said. “Initiatives like this and pro-active involvement of industry representations are an excellent example of industry working with regulators to make legislation truly smart.”

    Europe’s brewers support some 2 million jobs and contribute €50 billion in taxes but face tough challenges as the economy risks another recession.

    Danuta Hübner, a leading Polish MEP and former European Commissioner for Regional Policy, said that Europe’s brewers “are active in Europe’s regions in all 27 Member States, for decades supporting programs promoting responsible drinking as well as backing thousands of local events that are part of Europe’s social fabric and regional identities.”

    Alberto Da Ponte, The Brewers of Europe President said, “The brewing sector is emerging from a difficult period but we have embraced the Europe 2020 strategy. With the right support from policymakers, our sector can play a key role in Europe’s economic recovery and future growth.”

    A panel session invited brewers and policymakers to discuss the challenges the sector faces. SABMiller’s Europe CEO Alan Clark said, “The brewing sector has weathered the storm so far, but policymakers must be aware of the impact that further economic downturn combined with dramatically increasing taxes on beer may have.”

    According to an independent report published in May this year, across Europe the 3,500 brewers, large and small, spend €1 billion annually supporting over 8,000 community and regional events and activities, including in the areas of the arts, culture, innovation and science, as well as sport.

    The gala included a presentation of the ´Faces of Brewing´ photo contest winner and a networking gourmet dinner prepared by Eurotoques, representing 4,000 chefs across Europe. The reception also featured beers from Poland in honour of the country’s rotating EU presidency.
    (The Brewers of Europe)
    07.10.2011   Australia: Craft beer industry expected to receive further boost from SABMiller-Foster’s deal    ( )

    Australia's booming craft beer industry is hoping to receive a further boost in sales in the wake of SABMiller's takeover bid for Foster's, reported on September, 26.
    Boutique and craft beer producers make up less than 2 per cent of the domestic beer market, but they are also the fastest growing segment.
    They are hoping consumer backlash against Foster's and a growing awareness among beer drinkers about who owns the beer they drink will see more consumers turn to locally owned and produced craft beer brands.
    “Already on Twitter, people are saying, 'If you want to drink Aussie beer, you'd better start drinking small craft beer because that's pretty much all there is that's Australian,” says Ben Kraus from Bridge Road Brewers in Beechworth.
    The number of craft beer brewers in Australia has tripled in the past 10 years. Kraus adds that while there may no longer be the state-based loyalty of decades past that saw Queenslanders drinking XXXX and Victorians guzzling VB, there is still national and even regional-based loyalty. Dave Brough from 3 Ravens Brewing Company in Thornbury agrees.
    “I think the patriotic beer drinker still exists and we find that people want to drink locally produced beer, too. We have a lot of venues around the inner northern suburbs who stock our product because people like to drink beer that they have some connection to.”
    Mornington Peninsula brewer Kent Grogan is banking on patriotic Australian beer drinkers to help drive sales of his Australian made and owned Broo beer. His became the first Australian company to change its constitution to guarantee it would never be sold into foreign hands.
    “Economically and emotionally it's very sad news for Australia. But from our perspective it's a great day because I believe that Australians are very passionate about drinking Australian beer.”
    23.09.2011   SABMiller: Recommended Proposal to Acquire Foster's at A$5.10 per share    ( Company news )

    SABMiller plc ("SABMiller") announces that it has agreed with Foster's Group Limited ("Foster's") a recommended cash offer to Foster's shareholders at A$5.10 per share (see endnote 1), which values Foster's equity at approximately A$9.9 billion.
    As part of the transaction, and in line with Foster's previously announced capital management initiative, Foster's will pay its shareholders a return of capital of A$0.30 per share prior to closing, reflecting both the confirmed value of historic tax losses and a better cash/net debt position than assumed in SABMiller's initial proposal.
    The agreed proposal represents an acquisition enterprise value of A$11.5 billion, which is a 2.8% increase on the enterprise value of A$11.2 billion implied by SABMiller's initial proposal announced on 21 June 2011 (see endnote 2).

    The acquisition of Foster's is consistent with SABMiller's strategic priorities and will provide SABMiller with:
    ■exposure to Australia's strong economic growth prospects;
    ■a leading position in the stable and profitable Australian beer industry; and
    ■the opportunity to apply SABMiller's capabilities and scale to improve Foster's financial and operating performance.
    The acquisition is expected to be EPS enhancing for SABMiller in the first full year of ownership and economic returns are expected to exceed the project WACC by year 5.

    SABMiller and Foster's have agreed that the offer will be effected by means of a scheme of arrangement to be proposed by Foster's to its shareholders.
    The scheme of arrangement is recommended by the Foster's board and is subject to a number of customary conditions, detailed in a scheme implementation deed, the principal terms of which are summarised in Attachment 1 to this announcement. A full copy of the scheme implementation deed will be available shortly on SABMiller's website.
    The scheme implementation deed provides for the ordinary conduct of Foster's business from signing until completion, and arrangements for merger and implementation planning before closing. It specifies that in certain circumstances, including if a higher valued competing transaction is announced and completed within twelve months, Foster's will pay to SABMiller a break fee of A$99 million, being 1% of the equity value of the recommended transaction.
    Foster's has commenced the process of obtaining a ruling from the Australian Tax Office ("ATO") confirming the tax treatment of the capital reduction.
    SABMiller has internal resources and committed financing to fund the cash consideration, and SABMiller expects to maintain a strong investment grade credit profile.
    As previously announced, SABMiller has separately reached agreement with Coca-Cola Amatil Limited to be able to acquire its share of the Pacific Beverages Pty Limited joint venture should SABMiller acquire a controlling interest in Foster's.
    SABMiller has entered into a number of cash settled equity swap contracts that provide it with an economic exposure equivalent to 78 million shares (being approximately 4.0% of the total number of issued Foster's shares), which will reduce SABMiller's aggregate cash cost of the transaction consideration by approximately A$69 million.
    SABMiller and Foster's have agreed to work together to prepare the necessary documents to be considered by Foster's shareholders. The scheme document is expected to be posted to Foster's shareholders in approximately six weeks. If approved by shareholders at the relevant scheme meetings later this year, SABMiller expects the acquisition to be completed before the end of 2011.

    Unanimous Directors' Recommendation
    The Directors of Foster's have unanimously recommended that shareholders vote in favour of the scheme of arrangement and capital reduction, and have committed to voting their own interests in favour of the proposals, in the absence of a higher valued competing proposal and subject to an independent expert confirming that the proposal is in the best interests of Foster's shareholders.

    Commenting on the agreement, SABMiller's Chief Executive, Graham Mackay, said:
    "We are pleased that we have reached agreement on a recommended transaction to be put to Foster's shareholders.
    "Foster's will become an important part of our business, and through the application of our commercial capabilities and global scale, we expect to build on the initiatives that Foster's management has put in place, further enhancing Foster's performance and creating value for our shareholders.
    "Foster's has a long-standing and proud reputation as one of the leading companies in Australia. We look forward to working with Foster's employees and other stakeholders to ensure the success of Foster's in the future as the largest brewer in Australia with an outstanding portfolio of brands."
    (SABMiller plc)
    12.09.2011   SABMiller plc to make takeover offer for Foster’s Group Limited at A$4.90 per share    ( Company news )

    SABMiller plc ("SABMiller") proposes, through its indirect wholly owned Australian subsidiary SABMiller Beverage Investments Pty Ltd ("Bidder"), to make a conditional, off-market, cash takeover offer for all of the issued shares in Foster's Group Limited ("Foster's") at A$4.90 per fully paid ordinary share, reduced by the amount of any dividend or distribution paid or declared by Foster's after today's announcement (the "Offer").
    The Offer will extend to all the partly paid ordinary shares in Foster's. The price under the Offer for each partly paid ordinary share will be A$4.90 in cash less any amount unpaid on the relevant partly paid share, reduced by the amount of any dividend or distribution paid or declared by Foster's after the date of this announcement, subject to a minimum price of A$0.01.
    The Offer will be subject to the fulfilment of a number of conditions, many of which are customary in a change of control situation. The proposed Offer conditions are set out in the annexure to today's announcement.
    (SABMiller plc)
    13.07.2011   Brazil: SABMiller to expand its operations in the biggest Latin America country    ( )

    SABMiller PLC, the maker of Miller Lite, said it is scrutinizing opportunities to expand its nascent operations in Brazil, but the global brewer declined to comment on recent speculation over potential acquisitions in the country, Dow Jones Newswires reported on July, 5.
    "We very recently studied all of Latin America; ways potentially to expand out and in what form. We concluded we wanted to do more and we have started to do more," he said.
    "There are opportunities going forward. In Brazil, of course there is. There is of course some stuff on the table there right now and you would expect us to look, so we will see what comes of it."
    The maker of Grolsch, Peroni Nastro Azzuro and Miller Lite generates around 80% of its earnings from emerging markets, where it has experienced strong volume growth as demand has been fuelled by socio-economic improvement, rising incomes and a thirst for Western lifestyles.
    Karl Lippert, SABMiller’s president for Latin America, declined to comment on recent market rumours linking to the brewer potential $2 billion play for Brazil's second-largest brewer, privately-owned Primo Schincariol, based in Itu, Sao Paulo. "All of this is speculation," Lippert said.
    SABMiller started importing products into Brazil in January this year, with operations focused in the south of the country.
    (SABMiller plc)
    28.06.2011   UK: SABMiller to launch Miller Genuine Draft in England and Wales    ( )

    World’s second-largest brewer SABMiller is to launch Miller Genuine Draft in England and Wales, backed by a heavyweight advertising campaign, UK media reported earlier this week.
    The brewer's UK subsidiary, Miller Brands, said this week that it will support next month's launch with a multimillion pound campaign entitled 'Tonight, It's Miller Time'.
    "With the prospect of higher cash margins versus other premium packaged lagers, the launch provides a valuable new profit opportunity for retailers in the on-trade," said the group. Miller Genuine Draft has already performed well in Scotland, where it is now one of the best-selling lagers in the country's on-trade.
    Miller Brands said that its marketing campaign will include television and outdoor advertising. It is particularly targeting nightspots in major cities, beginning with an eight-week campaign across night clubs in Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle.
    In SABMiller's last fiscal year, to the end of March, its lager sales by volume rose by 23% in the UK, against a beer market that declined in every quarter bar one.
    22.11.2010   Australia: SABMiller still declining to comment on interest in Foster’s beer division     ( )

    SABMiller Plc, the maker of Miller, Grolsch and Peroni beers, has confirmed interest in making acquisitions but has again declined to comment if Australian brewer Foster's is on its shopping list, The Sydney Morning Herald communicated on November, 19.
    London-based SABMiller released on November, 18 its first-half profit results which beat estimates on growth in all regions outside Europe, and said it was looking for new deals.
    Chief financial officer Malcolm Wyman made the comments during an interview with Bloomberg Television. He declined to comment on Foster's amid growing speculation that SABMiller might bid for its beer division, Carlton & United Breweries.
    SABMiller, the world's second-biggest brewer by volume after AB InBev, already has exposure to the Australian market through a joint venture with Coca-Cola Amatil. The joint venture partners have a brewery in New South Wales and produce Peroni and Bluetongue beer. The pair are estimated to have a 10 per cent market share of the local premium beer sector.
    SABMiller's adjusted earnings rose 19 per cent to $US1.47 billion in the six months ended September from $US1.24 billion a year earlier.
    Profit increased in four out of five continents, driven by volume growth in Africa and China, higher prices and the strength of the company's major operating currencies against the dollar.
    The Foster's board announced earlier this year its intention to pursue a demerger of its beer and wine operations, with the corporate split to be struck next year. The demerger process may attract buyers for either division. SABMiller is considered a leading candidate to purchase CUB.
    22.11.2010   EU: SABMiller looks into EU’s beer drinking culture     ( )

    Beer continues to be an important industry in Europe but, like many consumer goods, it has not been unaffected by the recession. Many of Europe’s beer markets have experienced declines in the last 24 months and in the UK, pubs continue to close at an alarming rate, SABMiller said in a report published on November, 12.
    However, beer still plays a crucial part in many Europeans’ lives - in friendships, communities and sociability; although the role it plays varies from country to country with each nation displaying its own unique and varied beer drinking culture, the world’s No. 2 brewer said.
    The findings of SABMiller’s research into beer drinking culture around Europe include:
    - Britain is the biggest round-buying nation, with 82% of people saying that they buy beer in rounds - three times more than in Germany, where drinkers prefer to pay for their own drinks individually;
    - British bosses are amongst the most sociable in Europe - and the most generous, whereas French bosses are the least likely to ever go out for a beer with their teams;
    - British women are big believers in equality - more than half think that men and women should split the beer tab on a date.
    Prague, Amsterdam and Berlin have been named the top European destinations for a beer by SABMiller’s report.
    The report, ‘Whose Round?' which was researched across 12 European countries, found that 20% of all respondents named Prague as their top city for a beer, although Brits chose London, followed by Dublin, as their beer-drinking destination of choice.
    Prague was chosen as the top city by respondents from five countries and was particularly popular with beer drinkers from its Eastern European neighbours. Second placed Amsterdam trailed with 13% of the vote. London was fifth overall, proving most popular with Romanian, Czech and Dutch drinkers - as well as Brits.
    As well as the British; Dutch, Germans and French beer drinkers all showed their national pride by voting their own capital the top place for a pint. Propping up the bottom of the league table were Bucharest, Bratislava and Warsaw, landing only 1% of the vote each.
    ‘Your Round?' surveyed a range of beer drinking cultural trends across Europe, including which countries are most likely to socialise after work - and which have the most generous bosses; which nation of men are most likely to expect a woman to pay her way on a date; and the celebrities that Europeans would most like to go for a beer with.
    Great Britain, Romania and Italy have the most generous bosses when it comes to buying beer whilst French bosses are the most misérables. The Dutch are the least likely to go out drinking with colleagues (34%) but when they do, they have the most generous bosses, with 37% saying that their boss will sometimes or always stand a round.
    Brits' choice of celebrity beer drinking buddies were Cheryl Cole and Stephen Fry, whilst Barack Obama and Angelina Jolie were the most popular across Europe.
    20.09.2010   United Kingdom: SABMiller to launch UK’s first on-trade exclusive beer     ( )

    Miller Brands is launching a new draught Czech beer, Kozel, exclusively into UK pubs, The Publican communicated on September, 17.
    The beer, a four per cent ABV premium lager, will not be available in the off-trade, giving pubs a unique selling point over their supermarket competitors as well as the chance to capitalise on the price point commanded by a premium world beer.
    The marketing around Kozel – which means ‘goat’ in Czech – will use quirky humour to highlight the idea of socialising with friends and family in a pub environment.
    The beer already enjoys huge popularity in the Czech domestic market where it has been brewed since 1874 in the village of Velké Popovice.
    It is understood the beer is being trialled as of this month in around 100 managed pubs across the UK and will then be rolled out to the rest of the pub market alongside a nationwide promotional push which will include posters, sampling and in-pub kits including merchandise giveaways and interactive games.
    Speaking exclusively to The Publican, Nick Miller, managing director of Miller Brands UK, said: “Looking at the extensive range of beers within the SABMiller portfolio, we identified Kozel which satisfies the demand by 25 to 40-year-old men for an easy-drinking flavoursome beer for mid-week, after-work occasions.
    “The addition of this beer to Miller Brands UK’s portfolio will enable us to offer our customers an authentic world beer that will complement their existing range of premium products adding value to their business and consumer offer.”
    The company’s existing beer brands in the UK include Peroni, Pilsner Urquell and Miller Genuine Draft.
    Kozel is believed to be the first on-trade exclusive world beer launched into the UK market.
    07.09.2010   Australia: Foster’s CFO resigns amid beer and wine businesses demerger     ( )

    Australia's Foster’s Group has been hit by the resignation of its finance director in the midst of the demerger of its wine and beer businesses.
    Angus McKay will leave towards the end of this year to join Asciano, the Australian ports and rail operator, as chief financial officer, Foster’s announced on September, 2.
    His resignation comes as suitors including London-listed SABMiller and Japan's Asahi Breweries are among those eyeing a potential bid for Foster's brewing division.
    Foster's plans to demerge into two companies in the first half of 2011, a process likely to be disrupted by Mr McKay's decision.
    "His experience and business acumen will be missed at a time when the group is going through a complex demerger," said Paul van Meurs, an analyst at Deutsche Bank.
    Mr McKay became Foster's chief financial officer in January 2008 after joining the group four years earlier.
    The company's share price was down 1 cent at A$6.10. It has risen 18.4pc since plans for the demerger were revealed.
    Foster's said a search for a successor to Mr McKay had already begun.
    21.07.2010   South Africa: SABMiller sells more than expected during Soccer World Cup    ( )

    South African Breweries, the local subsidiary of the world’s second-largest brewer SABMiller plc, said its sales volumes during the Soccer World Cup were slightly ahead of expectations, Business Day reported on July, 16.
    SAB said volumes for the five- week World Cup period came in slightly ahead of the original estimate of 100,000 hectolitres.
    SAB sold an additional 130,000 hectolitres, which equates to 44- million 340ml beers. This was over and above normal consumption during the June-July period.
    The increased sales took place across SAB’s portfolio of products, with Castle Lager and Castle Lite proving particularly popular, along with Hansa and Carling Black Label. Of the international premium brands, Grolsch, Millers and Peroni resonated well with foreign visitors as well as local supporters, with the draught offering selling well.
    “This extra volume will support SAB’s financial results for the first quarter of 2010, which were otherwise restrained by Easter timing and the cold weather,” SAB said.
    SAB runs seven breweries and 42 depots in SA with an annual brewing capacity of 3.1 billion litres.
    SAB MD Norman Adami said SAB had implemented a detailed plan to ensure the country was well supplied. He said SAB had recognised the opportunity the Cup presented for the country, and decided to make a substantial contribution to the event, despite not being an official sponsor.
    This resulted in SAB investing about R170 mln in the tournament.
    12.07.2010   Peru: SABMiller targets premium segment by launching iconic Miller Genuine Draft     ( )

    World’s No. 2 brewer SABMiller announced on July, 2 that Peru will be the first market in South America to begin selling its iconic Miller Genuine Draft brand - part of SABMiller's plan to drive up profitability in the region by promoting premium brands.
    Miller Genuine Draft is now available in 72 countries around the world and has become the top selling beer in SABMiller's portfolio of global brands, according to a statement.
    It is thought that Miller Genuine Draft will be popular with Peruvian consumers because of their strong connection with American heritage and iconography.
    The brand will target 18-29 year old male and female consumers. SABMiller said the brand will initially be launched at selected bars, restaurants and nightclubs in Peru's capital city, Lima.
    Peru offers one of the most dynamic food and drink sectors in the region, with strong forecasts for economic growth, experts consider.
    24.03.2010   United States: MillerCoors to test-market beer based on pre-Prohibition recipe    ( )

    MillerCoors LLC plans to test-market a new beer based on a pre-Prohibition recipe, The Wall Street Journal communicated on March, 18.
    The new beer is called Batch 19 and makes part of the brewer’s initiatives aimed at bucking up the US market.
    As from next month, the new beer will be available in draft in bars and restaurants in Chicago, Milwaukee, San Francisco and Washington, said Peter Swinburn, chief executive of Molson Coors Brewing Co., which co-owns MillerCoors.
    According to Mr. Swinburn, Batch 19 - named for the year, 1919, before Prohibition began—is designed to attract consumers looking for "a true, authentic, original beer."
    The recipe of Batch 19 was found by Keith Villa, master brewer at MillerCoors, in the archives of Coors Brewing Co. in Golden, Colo. The recipe was used to make one of its beers before alcohol was banned in the U.S. for a 13-year period, Mr. Swinburn said.
    "It's the beer that got beer banned," Mr. Swinburn joked.
    MillerCoors, a joint venture of Molson Coors and London's SABMiller PLC that was formed in 2008, is rolling out new products and packaging styles amid one of the biggest slumps in demand the industry has faced in years.
    Shipments of beer in the U.S. fell about 2% last year. Miller Lite's shipments fell 6.5% and Coors Light's rose 0.8%, according to Beer Marketer's Insights newsletter.
    MillerCoors, the second-largest U.S. beer maker by sales after Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, said previously that it would expand to the whole country its $20, refrigerator-friendly draft-beer systems for Miller Lite and Coors Light. It also has said it plans this year to unveil a new type of bottle for Miller Lite that is designed with grooves inside the neck. The new bottle, when poured, will "actually increase the aroma" of the brew and "explode the flavor more," Mr. Swinburn said.
    Coors Light has been a bright spot for MillerCoors, but it has struggled to find a way to revive Miller Lite, which has faced declining sales for much of the past decade. "It just takes time given where the brand was," Mr. Swinburn said. "Yes, we're committed to the brand. Yes, we think we'll get it right."
    MillerCoors, based in Chicago, is trying to be innovative in a crowded market in which new products have shown a mixed track record. MillerCoors made a hit of MGD 64, a light beer with just 64 calories, and Anheuser did so with Bud Light Lime, a lime-infused version of the nation's top-selling brew. Some other beers, such as lime-and-salt-flavored Miller Chill, have done well initially but then foundered.
    Molson Coors has a 42% stake in MillerCoors. Its other big markets are Canada and the U.K. In February, it said its fourth-quarter profit more than doubled to $222.1 million as net sales jumped 11% to $820.8 million. Sales volume in the U.S. and Canada has been down in recent months because of high unemployment and penny-pinching by consumers.
    Mr. Swinburn said Molson Coors is seeing some encouraging signs for new products it recently rolled out in Canada, including a 67-calorie version of Molson Canadian, but "it's really, really early."
    He also said the beer giant, which has dual headquarters in Montreal and Denver, would consider more acquisitions, but only if they meet stringent criteria, such as adding to Molson Coors's per-share earnings in the short-term.
    Mr. Swinburn said the company was encouraged by the growth of Coors Light in China, and might look into buying a brewery in China or starting its own. Coors Light is currently brewed under contract in China by China Resources Snow Breweries, which is 49%-owned by SABMiller.
    "We will look to, when the time is right, underpin that volume because it's getting to the stage now where the margin that we would enjoy from producing it ourselves would justify a certain level of capital investment," Mr. Swinburn said. "We've painstakingly built that market over eight years, city by city."
    The company sells Coors Light in 42 cities in China and has about 400 employees in the country. Sales of the brand are growing about 30% each year, though off a small base.
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