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SABMiller increases investment in Birra Peroni

23 February 2005

Ref: 04/2005

London and Johannesburg, 23 February 2005. SABMiller plc announces that it has acquired a further 39.8% of Birra Peroni that it does not already own, for a cash consideration of €162.5 million (US$212.6 million).  The agreement follows SABMiller’s acquisition of a 60% stake in Birra Peroni completed in June 2003 for €246.0 million.

Under the terms of the original agreement announced in May 2003, SABMiller and the shareholders of Birra Peroni entered into put and call options that, when exercised, would result in SABMiller’s ownership increasing to 99.8% from December 2006.  The price payable under these put and call options was based on an equity value of €410 million (for 100% of Birra Peroni) plus interest and earn-out arrangements which were dependent on the future performance of the business. 

SABMiller and the minority shareholders in Birra Peroni have today agreed to accelerate the share transfer process which has increased SABMiller’s shareholding to 99.8% at the price prescribed within the original agreement, and simultaneously the parties have agreed to terminate the earn-out arrangements.  The acquisition was not subject to any conditions and has been financed from existing resources.

Ends

Notes to editors:

SABMiller plc

SABMiller plc is one of the world’s largest brewers, with 2003/04 lager sales volumes in excess of 137 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 2004, the group generated US$1,391million pre-tax profit from a turnover of US$12,645 million.  SABMiller plc is listed on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges.

S.p.A. Birra Peroni

Birra Peroni S.p.A. is the second largest brewer in Italy with a 25% market share.  Its portfolio of brands includes the number one beer brand in Italy, Peroni; and Nastro Azzurro, the number three brand in the premium segment.  In the year to 31 March 2004, Birra Peroni grew its volumes in line with the overall market at approximately 6%.  In November 2003, Miller Genuine Draft was introduced into the portfolio following the termination of the Anheuser-Busch Budweiser contract.

This announcement is available on the SABMiller website, www.sabmiller.com

High resolution images are available for the media to view and download free of charge from www.vismedia.co.uk

Enquiries:  

SABMiller plc                                                           Tel: +44 20 7659 0100
  
Sue Clark
Director of Corporate Affairs                                Tel: +44 20 7659 0184
  
Gary Leibowitz 
Vice President, Investor Relations                        Tel. +44 20 7659 0119
                                                                             Mob: +44 7717 428540
Nigel Fairbrass 
Head of Media Relations                                      Tel: +44 20 7659 0105
                                                                            Mob: +44 7799 894265

The release, publication or distribution of this announcement in certain jurisdictions may be restricted by law and therefore persons in any such jurisdictions into which this announcement is released, published or distributed should inform themselves about, and observe, such restrictions.

This announcement contains statements about Birra Peroni S.p.A., SABMiller plc (‘SABMiller’) and members of the SABMiller group (together with SABMiller, the "SABMiller Group") that are or may be forward looking statements.  All statements other than statements of historical facts included in this announcement may be forward looking statements.  Any statements preceded or followed by or that include the words "targets", "plans", "believes", "expects", "aims", "intends", "will", "may", "anticipates" or similar expressions or the negative thereof are forward looking statements.  Forward looking statements include statements relating to the following: (i) future capital expenditures, expenses, revenues, economic performance, financial condition, dividend policy, losses and future prospects; (ii) business and management strategies and the expansion and growth of Birra Peroni or the SABMiller Group's operations; and (iii) the effects of government regulation on Birra Peroni or the SABMiller Group's business.

These forward looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of any such person, or industry results, to be materially different from any results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward looking statements.  These forward looking statements are based on numerous assumptions regarding the present and future business strategies of such persons and the environment in which each will operate in the future.  All subsequent oral or written forward looking statements attributable to Birra Peroni or any member of the SABMiller Group or any persons acting on their behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statement above.  Birra Peroni and the SABMiller Group expressly disclaim any obligation or undertaking to disseminate any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in their expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.

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