A-B Inbev tight-lipped over alleged Beck’s sale

16 April, 2010

A-B Inbev has refused to comment on reports that it? is preparing a sale of its Beck’s lager brand.

A German press report suggested a deal to sell Beck’s to US buyout firm Bain Capital for US$1.7 billion had been called off by the brewer at the last minute.

Marianne Amssoms, vice-president of communications at A-B Inbev, said: “We have never commented on what assets were considered as part of our divest-?itures programme.”?A-B Inbev has been selling off some assets to pay down debt arising from the acquisition of Anheuser-Busch.

The sale of 13 eastern European breweries for E2.2 billion in October may have helped ease the brewer’s debt burden enough for it to call off the Beck’s deal.

According to Nielsen, Beck’s increased sales in the UK off-trade by 8% and Beck’s Vier by 34% in the year to October 3.

A Beck’s sale to a non-brewing interest would go against the grain of consolidation in the global beer market.

Heineken said last week it expected a quarter of the world’s beer market to be bought by itself, A-B Inbev, SAB Miller and Carlsberg in the coming years.

Mexican brewing giant Femsa is already up for sale, with SAB Miller and Heineken among th?ose? interested.

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