China Resources Beer executive says country is set to approve AB InBev's Megabrew deal

 
Francesca Washtell
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Bottoms up to news that one of the key remaining markets is likely to clear the deal (Source: Getty)

An executive at China Resources Beer today said he believes the country’s competition authority is set to clear Anheuser-Busch InBev’s (AB InBev) takeover of SABMiller.

“We don’t see any obstacle so far in getting a green light from China authorities,” chief financial officer Tomakin Lai said, reported Reuters. “We are confident that the deal can eventually get approval.”

It is unclear when the Chinese authorities will publish a final decision on the deal.

China Resources Beer also said yesterday it is seeking to raise $1.2bn (£912m) in a discounted Hong Kong share sale to part-fund the purchase of SABMiller’s stake of their CR Snow joint venture.

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

China and the US are the two major markets that still have to clear the takeover, dubbed Megabrew, which will be the largest British corporate merger if it occurs later this year.

"We continue to engage proactively with the relevant authorities in China to address their concerns in order to obtain the necessary clearances as quickly as possible," an AB InBev spokesperson told City A.M.

Last week, AB InBev said it was “well on track” to close the £71bn deal in the second half of 2016 after the South African competition authority became the 16th jurisdiction to wave through the deal.

This week the merger also looked close to being cleared with Zimbabwe's Competition and Tariff Commission with conditions.

Read more: AB InBev gulps down Italian craft brewer

SABMiller owns a major company in the country’s drinks market, Delta Corporation Zimbabwe.

According to local media, a letter to AB InBev from the commission's acting director Ellen Ruparanganda dated 1 July said the merger had been cleared with conditions.

The conditions included AB InBev pledging not to shed jobs and to grow the production of some of Delta’s beer brands.

An AB InBev spokesperson said the brewer was "expecting to receive the formal clearance decision shortly".

In Africa, the deal has also been cleared by antitrust regulators in Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Swaziland and Zambia. It was cleared by the EU in late May and has been cleared elsewhere in countries including India, Australia and Mexico.

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