Beer giants confirm merger

Tinashe Makichi : Business Reporter

Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller have notified the Zimbabwe Competition and Tariff Commission of their £71 billion merger. The two beer giants have been reluctant to notify their merger to the local competition authority arguing that their transaction is of a global nature and does not fall under the jurisdiction of Zimbabwean competition authorities.SABMiller owns a 38,1 percent stake local beer maker, Delta Corporation.

Competition and Tariff Commission assistant director (Competition) Benjamin Chinhengo yesterday confirmed the notification and highlighted that it was mandatory and in line with the regulatory demands of the Zimbabwean competition environment.

“We have always encouraged InBev and SABMiller to notify us of their merger but were reluctant raising the argument that the transaction was of a global nature. We advised them any transaction with an effect on Zimbabwe should be notified and in this case, the transaction had an impact on Delta Beverages which is 38,1 percent owned by SABMiller. We therefore, advised them to comply with our demands and avoid going to court over issues that can be solved through compliance,” said Mr Chinhengo.

“However, they finally submitted a notification of the merger yesterday despite their earlier concerns. The transaction might have been approved on the global stage already but due to the presence of Delta in Zimbabwe, they were supposed to notify,” he said.

He said any transaction “whether global”, but with an effect on the Zimbabwean market should be noted by the competition authorities.

Anheuser-Busch InBev last year completed the £71bn takeover of SABMiller, a deal which combined the world’s two largest beer makers.

To clear the way for the takeover, SABMiller sold its 58 percent stake in its US joint venture MillerCoors. SABMiller sold the stake to its main partner in the business, Molson Coors, for $12bn.

SABMiller has a workforce of close to 70 000 in more than 80 countries, and global annual sales of more than $26 billion while AB InBev has a workforce of 155 000 and global revenues of more than $47 billion. The two global giants are predicting cost saving of at least $1,4 billion a year after concluding the merger.

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