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SABMiller acquires Sparks and Steel Reserve brands

3 July 2006

SABMiller plc announces that it has entered into an agreement to acquire the Sparks® and Steel Reserve® brands and related trademarks from US contract brewing partner McKenzie River Corporation (”McKenzie River”) for a cash consideration of US$215m. In addition, SABMiller and McKenzie River have agreed an ongoing new product development partnership.

Sparks® is a citrus flavored premium malt beverage with added caffeine, taurine, guarana and ginseng and is the leader in the high growth caffeinated alcoholic malt beverage category. The brand is available in three variants: Sparks Orange® (original), Sparks Plus® and Sparks Light®. Sparks® achieved a compound annual growth rate of 107 percent between 2003 and 2005, selling 317,000 hl in 2005.

Steel Reserve® is a high gravity lager which is slow brewed for a minimum of 28 days. It is the leading brand in the US high gravity lager category and has grown at a 35 percent compound annual growth rate between 2003 and 2005 with a total of 1.6 million hl sold in 2005.

McKenzie River is a San Francisco based beverage marketing firm with an impressive track record for innovation aimed at developing new products. The company, which was founded in 1987 by President Minott Wessinger, launched the Steel Reserve® brand in 1997 and the Sparks® brand in 2002.

Completion of the transaction is subject to the customary review by U.S. antitrust authorities

Norman Adami, President and CEO of Miller Brewing Company, commented:

“Sparks and Steel Reserve will have an immediate positive impact on our growth profile.  In addition, our new product development relationship with Minott Wessinger connects us with a very special guy when it comes to innovation.”


Notes to editors:

SABMiller plc is one of the world’s largest brewers with brewing interests or distribution agreements in over 60 countries across five continents. The group’s brands include premium international beers such as Miller Genuine Draft, Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Pilsner Urquell, as well as an exceptional range of market leading local brands.  Outside the USA, SABMiller plc is also one of the largest bottlers of Coca-Cola products in the world.
In the year ended 31 March 2006, the group reported US$2,626 million adjusted pre-tax profit and a turnover of US$15,307 million.  SABMiller plc is listed on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges.

This announcement is available on

For further information on the Sparks® and Steel Reserve® brands please visit:


SABMiller plc  
Tel: +44 20 7659 0100
Sue Clark 
Director of Corporate Affairs 
Tel: +44 20 7659 0184
Gary Leibowitz 
Senior Vice President, Investor Relations 
Tel: +44 20 7659 0119
Nigel Fairbrass Head of Media Relations 
Tel: +44 20 7659 0105

This announcement does not constitute an offer to sell or issue or the solicitation of an offer to buy or acquire securities of SABMiller plc (the "Company") or any of its affiliates in any jurisdiction or an inducement to enter into investment activity.

This document includes "forward-looking statements".  These statements may contain the words "anticipate", "believe", "intend", "estimate", "expect" and words of similar meaning.  All statements other than statements of historical facts included in this announcement, including, without limitation, those regarding the Company's financial position, business strategy, plans and objectives of management for future operations (including development plans and objectives relating to the Company's products and services) are forward-looking statements.  These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that could cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.  These forward-looking statements are based on numerous assumptions regarding the Company's present and future business strategies and the environment in which the Company will operate in the future.  These forward-looking statements speak only as at the date of this announcement.  The Company expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to disseminate any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained in this announcement to reflect any change in the Company's expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.

Any information contained in this announcement on the price at which the Company's securities have been bought or sold in the past, or on the yield on such securities, should not be relied upon as a guide to future performance.

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