Anheuser-Busch InBev "on track" for SABMiller deal despite South Africa delay
It is the fifth delay for AB InBev in South Africa
The South African Competition Commission was due to complete its investigation on the takeover yesterday, however an AB InBev spokesperson confirmed to just-drinks that the deadline has been extended. It is the fifth time the commission has delayed its ruling.
"Our intention is to close the global transaction in the second half of 2016, and we believe we are on track to meet this timeline," the spokesperson said.
Reuters said the new deadline is 12 May, while citing a commission spokesperson who said there are "several outstanding issues" still to be considered.
Following the initial notification of the deal on 14 December, the commission had 40 business days to consider the filing. This can be extended by periods of up to 15 working days at a time. After a previous delay last month, a spokesperson for AB InBev said the company had agreed to a "small number of extensions".
AB InBev has made a number of concessions to South African regulators to smooth the passage of its proposed takeover. Last month, AB InBev received agreement from the South African Government for a package of commitments in the country, including guarantees there will be no "involuntary job losses" in the country at any point in the future. The company will also maintain the current permanent employment levels in South Africa for five years after the purchase completes.
When AB InBev agreed to buy SABMiller last year, it laid out four regulatory pre-conditions - in the US, the EU, China and South Africa. To appease regulators, the company has already agreed to sell some of SABMiller's European beer brands to Asahi as well as its share of the MillerCoors JV to Molson Coors. In China, AB InBev has lined up the sale of SABMiller's 49% interest in China Resources Snow Breweries to China Resources Beer. In South Africa, the company's listing on the Johannesburg stock exchange began in January.
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