SABMiller plans new push into Latin America

Kasmira Jefford
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SABMILLER said yesterday it hopes to boost sales in Latin America, its largest market, by targeting customers who buy bad quality spirits sold illegally on the black market.

Karl Lippert, SABMiller’s Latin America regional chief told investors yesterday that the group plans to provide “affordable alternatives” to drinkers on low incomes, such as offering bigger packs which people can share.

The world’s second largest brewer has more than 90 per cent of the beer market in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Honduras and El Salvador and the region provides around a third of global earnings for the brewer of Peroni, Cusquena and Pilsener.

Per capita beer consumption in SABMiller’s Andean and Central American markets still lags Mexico and Brazil, where the group has limited exposure.

It also hopes to introduce larger 750ml bottles in these countries as it has done at its Colombian subsidiary Bavaria, which recently started producing larger bottles for Aguila variants, Poker and Pilsen selling at a discount of over 20 per cent to mainstream beer retail prices.

In Mexico, SABMiller has some imports, mostly in the northern regions close to its Miller’s breweries in Fort Worth, Texas.

SABMiller has joined with other companies to challenge the set-up with Mexico’s competition regulator, and a ruling is due this month.