• Castel says no talks on beer arm sale
  • SABMiller declines to comment
  • Analyst labels bid price "ridiculous"
SABMiller silent on interest in Castel

SABMiller silent on interest in Castel

Castel has denied that it is in talks to sell its African beer arm to SABMiller for GBP6bn (US$9.5bn).

Guy de Clerq, the chief financial officer of Castel's beer division, Les Brasseries & Glacieres Internationales, told Reuters today (7 October) that there were no talks to sell the business. His comments follow a report by the Times newspaper in the UK that SABMiller could pay GBP6bn (US$9.5bn) to acquire BGI. It did not quote sources.

SABMiller already works with BGI in 19 African countries and holds a 20% stake in the business. A takeover of the French group would significantly enhance SABMiller's footprint in a key growth region for beer.

An SABMiller spokesperson declined to comment on the speculation when contacted by just-drinks. However, he added that the Peroni Nastro Azzurro brewer remained keen to expand in Africa. "Africa continues to be a dynamic growth market for SABMiller and we continue to look for opportunities to grow there," he said. 

Gerard Rijk, analyst with ING Bank, told just-drinks that the rationale for a deal "makes sense", but he called the prospective GBP6bn bid price "ridiculous". It is thought this would amount to at least 30 times BGI earnings.

SABMiller's strong balance sheet and global reach has seen it repeatedly linked with potential acquisitions over the last couple of years, including FEMSA Cerveza in Mexico and Foster's Group's Australian beer business.

So far, the speculation has come to nothing, but SABMiller's CEO, Graham Mackay, is believed to want one last big deal before he retires.

For just-drinks comment on this potential deal, click here.