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SABMiller obtains exceptional value for Harbin Brewery stake

3 June 2004

SABMiller announces that it will not proceed with its voluntary offer of HK$4.30 for shares in Harbin Brewery and that it will accept the offer of HK$5.58 that Anheuser-Busch (“AB”) has announced it will be making for shares in Harbin Brewery.

AB will pay SABMiller US$211 million and the Company will realise a substantial profit over the price it paid to purchase the stake in Harbin Brewery in July 2003. SABMiller believes that the offer price by AB of HK$5.58 more than fully values the potential of the company and it is in the best interests of SABMiller and its shareholders to accept.

SABMiller has made clear since announcing its offer for Harbin Brewery that Harbin Brewery could benefit from becoming a part of SABMiller’s China strategy through the potential synergies to be derived by aligning Harbin Brewery with its interest in China Resources Breweries. However, it had also indicated that Harbin Brewery was not an essential asset at any price.

SABMiller already has an established position in China and will continue to make further investments to strengthen this through its joint venture interest in China Resources Breweries (CRB). CRB already owns 32 breweries throughout China and leading local and regional beer brands, which have the potential to become national brands over time. CRB will continue to pursue solid organic growth and will consider other asset acquisitions if the value is appropriate and it strengthens CRB’s strategic interests in China.

Commenting on the announcement SABMiller CEO Graham Mackay said, “We remain fully committed to the Chinese beer market and we must evaluate every potential acquisition on its merits. We believe that the AB offer price for Harbin more than fully values the business, even after taking into account the significant synergies uniquely available to us.”

We have a successful ten year history of expansion and profitability in China and a clear strategy to grow the business through CRB, which I am pleased to say remains on course.”

For more information, please contact:
Sue Clark +44 7850 285 471 (Hong Kong)
Gary Leibowitz +44 7717 428 540 (UK office)
Nigel Fairbrass +44 7799 894 265 (Hong Kong – mobile)

Stephen Thomas +852 2963 6705, +852 6194 9013
Cecile Kung +852 2963 6736, +852 9255 7411

About SABMiller
SABMiller plc is one of the world’s largest brewers, with major brewing and distribution operations in America, Africa, Europe and Asia and 2003/4 lager volumes of approximately 138 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 United States, SABMiller is one of the largest bottlers of Coca Cola products in the world. The company is listed on both the London and the Johannesburg stock exchanges. SABMiller, through its joint venture in China, China Resources Breweries, operates 30 breweries in 9 provinces in China with total volumes of over 27 million hectolitres in the year ended 31 March 2004. It entered the China market in 1994 and is one of the few profitable foreign brewers operating in China.

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