Anheuser-Busch InBev will open talks in February

Anheuser-Busch InBev will open talks in February

Anheuser-Busch InBev is at risk of reputation damage and higher costs as it prepares to renegotiate its contract with brewery workers union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, according to an analyst.

In a note this week, CLSA's Caroline Levy said the talks, to take place on 28 February, are hoped to proceed as smoothly as the pair's last negotiations five years ago, when all 12 A-B InBev breweries in the US were guaranteed to stay open for the length of the contract. But the analyst warned of pitfalls.

"There is some risk of above-inflation, wage and benefit increases and of protracted negotiations causing higher brewery operating costs and poor public relations for A-B InBev," said Levy. 

She added: “The Budweiser brand wants to be ready for anything and is increasing its distributor inventories, which it has done in years past.”

The 2008 deal, which led to the five-year no-closure guarantee, was completed by Anheuser-Busch prior to its sale to InBev