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SABMiller increases stake in Indian brewing business to 99%

27 May 2005

SABMiller plc announces that its Indian subsidiary, MBL Investments (‘Mysore’), has acquired the Shaw Wallace Group’s 50% interest in the brewing operations of SABMiller’s Indian joint-venture.  Mysore now owns 99% of the brewing operations with the balance of shares held by third party minority investors.  These operations constitute India’s second largest brewer.

The Indian joint-venture was formed in May 2003 through a strategic agreement between SABMiller’s Mysore Breweries Limited and the Shaw Wallace Group. The brewing operations in India comprise 10 breweries which supply the whole country.  Its key brands include Hayward’s 5000, the leading beer brand in the rapidly-growing strong beer segment; Royal Challenge Premium Lager, the second-largest and fastest growing mild beer in the country; Knock-Out and Castle Lager.

In the year to the end of March 2005, the brewing operations increased volumes to 2.4 million hectolitres, up 12% on the prior year.  Upon completion of the transaction, the brewing operations had net assets of US$37 million.

André Parker, SABMiller’s Africa & Asia managing director, commented:

“Beer consumption in India remains at around 1 litre per person per year, which compares to levels of around 20 litres in comparable developing markets.  With a population in excess of 1 billion, and GDP growth of over 6%, India has the economic potential to be a leading global beer market.   SABMiller is well placed to benefit from this future growth and to participate in further Indian beer market consolidation.”

SABMiller has operated in India since October 2000, when it bought the Narang Breweries, located near Lucknow, in the state of Uttar Pradesh.  In June 2001, SABMiller acquired a controlling interest in Mysore Breweries Limited. Subsequently Mysore Breweries Limited has made other acquisitions in other brewing operations in India and later in May 2003, Mysore Breweries Limited entered into a strategic 50:50 joint venture with the Shaw Wallace Group of India.

Notes to editors:

SABMiller plc

SABMiller plc is one of the world’s largest brewers, with 2004/05 lager sales volumes in excess of 148 million hectolitres.  It has a brewing presence in over 40 countries across four continents and a portfolio of strong brands and leading market shares in many of the countries in which it has brewing operations.  Outside the USA, SABMiller plc is one of the largest bottlers of Coca-Cola products in the world.

In the year ended 31 March 2005, the group generated US$2,194 million pre-tax profit from a turnover of US$14,543 million.  SABMiller plc is listed on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges.
The Indian Beer Market

Currently, the total Indian beer market is still small with annual sales of around 7 million hectolitres, but has been growing rapidly over the last 10 years.  This trend is continuing and overall market growth is estimated currently to be some 6% - 7% on an annualised basis.  The Indian brewing industry remains highly regulated and beer is categorised with other alcoholic products for licensing and taxation purposes.

Strong beer (alcohol by volume of 5% - 8%) accounts for 65% of the total beer market and the key beer consuming states are Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.  Per capita consumption of 0.7 litres is low, emphasising the significant growth potential in a country with a population in excess of one billion people.

Key drivers of high growth include rising gross domestic product, favourable demographics, changing lifestyles, and the opportunity to grow per capita consumption together with potential deregulation of the Indian beer industry.
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