South African competition watchdog waves through AB InBev-SABMiller Megabrew deal

 
Francesca Washtell
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AB InBev owns Stella Artois (Source: Getty)

The South African antitrust authority has approved Anheuser-Busch InBev's proposed takeover of British drinks giant SABMiller.

AB InBev said the green flag from the country's competition tribunal put it "well on track" to close the £71bn deal in the second half of 2016.

SABMiller is a big employer in South Africa, which has now become the 16th jurisdiction to wave through the so-called Megabrew deal.

It has also been cleared by competition watchdog's in the EU, India and Australia, though approval is still required from the US and China.

Read more: AB InBev offers to sell more SABMiller brands to secure Megabrew deal

In mid-April, the Budweiser and Stella Artois brewer agreed a wide-ranging deal to protect jobs in South Africa and ensure the company did not shirk commitments to black economic empowerment schemes.

As well as pledging to set up a £1bn fund to support the local drinks industry and financing 800 new emerging farmers in the April deal, last week AB InBev also agreed to speed-sell SABMiller's 26 per cent stake in the South African drink maker Distell.

The South African deal has been cleared with conditions, including an agreement that no South African employee can be laid off for five years after the merger.

Read more: AB InBev gulps down Italian craft brewer

​"We are delighted by the Competition Tribunal's decision to approve our proposed combination with SABMiller in South Africa, a market that would play a critical role in the combined company," AB InBev chief executive Carlos Brito said.

"We recognise South African Breweries' important contribution to the country's economy and society and look forward to building on this through the commitments we have made on jobs and employment, localisation of inputs and production, support for small suppliers and the promotion of black economic empowerment."

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