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SAB launches Castle Lager in India

7 February 2002

South African Breweries plc (SAB) announced the roll-out of its international award winning Castle Lager brand into India today.

Richard Rushton, managing director of SAB India, speaking at the launch in Delhi, said: "We have identified Delhi as the best entry point for Castle Lager because it is primarily a lager beer market, an international gateway to the rest of India and the city is also one of the key influencers of taste and fashion for other metropolitan areas within India. Castle Lager will be brewed locally and the company has undertaken significant technology upgrades in its breweries to retain Castle Lager's taste and flavour. We aim to achieve over 10% of the markets where the brand is available within in the first year. Our strategy is to gradually increase our depth of distribution of Castle Lager as awareness increases in cities throughout the region. This will be supported by ongoing marketing initiatives around the Castle Lager brand to the trade and consumers to build up their brand awareness. Castle Lager has been in existence for over one hundred years and has a strong South African heritage.

"Our investment in India is focused on building a national presence. SAB India's growth strategy is built around the acquisition of production capacity in key markets, upgrading and modernising breweries and the introduction of internationally proven brands, as well as developing local brands, for consumers in India. Today's launch is evidence of our commitment to this strategy and to our operations in India. "

Graham Mackay, chief executive of SAB said: "South African Breweries operates in 24 countries and is seen as one of the world's most prominent brewers, especially in developing markets.

"Our entry into India is a further extension of our strategy of investing in developing markets. We are in India for the long term and will balance the immediate demands of the market with our long-term duties to stakeholders - to investors, a fair return; to employees, a safe and rewarding job; to suppliers, fair dealing; to governments which tax and regulate us, open and honest relations; to local communities and wider society, a commitment to enhance and work for the common good."

-ends-

Notes to editors

  1. SAB is the world's leading brewer in developing markets, with major brewing and distribution operations in Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, Central America and Asia. It is the world's fifth largest brewer overall by volume with 108 breweries in 24 countries and over 31,000 employees. In the year to March 31 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.
  2. SAB has operated in India since March 2000, when it bought the Narang brewery, located near Lucknow in the state of Uttar Pradesh, for $US6 million. The brewery, which has a capacity of approximately 120,000 hectolitres, has recently been modernised and commenced full production in April 2001.
  3. In June 2001, SAB acquired a controlling interest in Mysore Breweries Limited (MBL), listed on the Bangalore Stock Exchange for $US17.6 million. MBL operates two breweries, with a combined capacity of 480,000 hectolitres, situated in Southern India at Bangalore and Aurangabad.
  4. In November 2001, SAB acquired a controlling interest in Rochees Breweries Limited (RBL) for $US 2 million. RBL is in Rajasthan, approximately 100 kilometres from New Delhi, with a capacity of 110,000 hectolitres, which is currently being expanded to 170,000 hectolitres. RBL gives SAB India access to the important northern Indian beer market of Rajasthan, the fifth largest beer consuming state in India and growing at 8%-10% per annum, as well as to other northern states in the region, including Delhi, which has no breweries of its own.
  5. SAB India's key brands include Knock-Out, Continental and Three Lions, a new brand that was launched in the autumn of 2001 by SAB in Uttar Pradesh, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh.
  6. SAB India has set up its Corporate Office in Gurgaon, which is near

For further information:

Nick Chaloner

Director of Communications,
SAB plc +44 (0) 20 7659 0119
Mob: +44 (0) 7880 502 755

Ciaran Baker

Head of Corporate Communications,
SAB plc +44 (0) 20 7659 0120
Mob: +44 (0) 7979 954 493

Anna Miller Salzman

Head of Investor Relations,
SAB plc +44 (0) 20 7659 0106
Mob: +44 (0) 7973 837 070

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