AB InBev Clears SAB Hurdle In South Africa As Union Withdraws

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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AB InBev Clears SAB Hurdle In South Africa As Union Withdraws

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV cleared a hurdle toward gaining approval for the brewer’s takeover of SABMiller Plc in South Africa as the country’s Food and Allied Workers Union said it will take no further part in the regulatory approval process.

The FAWU agreed with the merging brewers and South Africa’s Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel that most conditions relating to the future of SABMiller’s Zenzele employee-share program be removed from the Competition Commission’s recommendation of the deal. The FAWU therefore won’t argue its case against the conditions at the Competition Tribunal hearing in Pretoria this week, and will instead negotiate on behalf of the program’s participants separately with AB InBev.

“We would propose that FAWU would have no further interest in the proceedings,” the union’s advocate, Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, said at the hearing on Thursday.

South Africa is just one of the jurisdictions where AB InBev is trying to get regulatory approval for the takeover, with the country’s Competition Tribunal set to decide on whether to rubber stamp the deal after the hearing concludes on Friday. A key date in the process is Aug. 12, when SABMiller is scheduled to pay its dividend. AB InBev will receive the payout if the deal is completed by then. SABMiller, the brewer of Castle and Grolsch lagers, traces its roots back to 19th century Johannesburg.

A condition to the deal remains that AB InBev will have to present plans for the empowerment of non-white employees to the South African government. The state encourages businesses in the country to help compensate those discriminated against during apartheid.

News by Bloomberg, edited by ESM. To subscribe to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine, click here.

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