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SAB launches Sterling Light Lager in South Africa

28 March 2002

South African Breweries plc, the world's leading brewer in developing markets, has launched a new low-alcohol beer, Sterling Light Lager, into the light beer market in South Africa. The new brand was announced by The South African Breweries Ltd (SAB Ltd), a subsidiary of South African Breweries plc.

SAB Ltd Marketing Director, Peter McLoughlin said: "We expect Sterling Light Lager to capture market share and to grow the South African light beer category. Worldwide, light beer is growing in popularity, but our research also shows that consumers are not prepared to compromise on taste. The challenge for us was to create a full tasting premium lager, which is low in both alcohol and kilojoules, and we believe we have achieved this in Sterling Light."

Sterling Light will initially be available in South Africa only, but may be rolled out to other South African Breweries export markets at a later stage. Because of its positioning as a premium offering, it will not compete directly with Castle Lager, SAB's flagship brand in South Africa. Sterling Light will be available in four-packs, which is a packaging innovation for the South African market, and supports its premium brand positioning.

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Notes to editors

1. SAB uses imported crystal malt to produce Sterling Light Lager as a full tasting lager, with 2.5% ABV containing 130 kilojoules per 100ml.

2. The South African light beer market is represented by two categories. The first category is low in alcohol, namely between 2% and 3% alcohol by volume, similar to that of the Australian light beer market. This is where Sterling Light lager will compete. SAB Ltd also has another light beer offering, Castle Lite, which at 4% ABV serves a different market segment. This category is similar to that of the US light beer market where the light version has less kilojoules (25%) than the mother brand, in this case Castle Lager.

3. The South African Breweries Ltd, which was founded in Johannesburg in 1895, has 98 per cent share of the South African beer market. In 2000, it sold 23.9 million hectolitres of beer in South Africa, and generated a pre-tax profit of US$343 million from a turnover of US$1,365 billion. The company is part of South African Breweries plc (SAB), the world's leading brewer in developing markets. Listed in London, SAB has interests in Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, Central America and Asia, and is the world's third largest brewer overall by volume with 108 breweries in 24 countries and over 31,000 employees.

4. In the year to 31 March 2001, SAB generated US$646 million pre-tax profit from a turnover of US$4.184 billion. SAB is listed on both the London and the Johannesburg stock exchanges.5. A Sterling Light photograph is available from Briony Gilbert, Tel:020 7659 0115

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Further inquiries:

Ciaran Baker

Head of Corporate Communications, SAB plc
+44 (0) 20 7659 0120

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