Sunday 22 May 2016 6:37 pm

Megabrew: AB InBev brews sale of SABMiller European beer brands Pilsner and Lech

Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) is expected to put most of SABMiller's remaining European drinks offering up for sale this week in a £5bn auction.

AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer, is set to sell SABMiller's Central and Eastern European brands in order to pave the way for its megabrew merger with the British drinks giant, reported the Sunday Times.

The Belgium-based brewer told the European Commission it would sell the brands, which include the Polish brew Lech and Czech beer Pilsner Urquell, if the deal goes through to assuage competition concerns.

If the £5bn sale goes through, the only remaining European business owned by SABMiller will be a brewery in the Canary Islands. At this stage, AB InBev has made no indications that it will sell the Canaries-based business.

The European Commission's competition regulators are expected to conditionally approve the £71bn megabrew takeover, it was reported on Friday.

Read more: AB InBev-SABMiller deal bubbles along down under

AB InBev has already committed to sell many of SABMiller's best-known brands to help the megabrew deal gain approval and woo competition authorities. In mid-April the company accepted a $2.55bn (£1.77bn) offer from Japanese drinks major Asahi to buy Peroni, Grolsch and craft brewer Meantime.

In the US, antitrust organisations have flagged that the deal raises "serious" concerns, despite AB InBev announcing it will sell SABMiller’s stake in the US joint venture MillCoors to Molson Coors Brewing.

In South Africa, AB InBev has received the green light to list on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in a move it said demonstrated its commitment to the country. South Africa's competition regulators are expected to reach a decision on the takeover by mid-week, which will then be referred to a competition tribunal.

In a further attempt to try to pave the way for the megabrew deal, AB InBev embarked on a jumbo euro bond deal in mid-March, offering a six-tranche, euro-dominated deal with maturities ranging from four to 20 years in length at a minimum of $1bn each in size.