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INDIA: Anheuser-Busch still mulling options

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Anheuser-Busch has insisted no decision has been made on plans to invest in India, despite local press reports claiming the brewing giant has approved a venture near Hyderabad.

Speculation has been rife in recent months that A-B is keen to enter India, as it looks to tap into a market growing by 6-7% a year. In July, local newspapers reported that senior management from the Budweiser brewer had met with officials from Crown Breweries, a greenfield project based outside Hyderabad.

A report in Indian newspaper The Economic Times yesterday (4 October) said that A-B has decided to go ahead with a joint venture with Crown.

However, Steve Burrows, president and CEO of A-B's international arm, said: "Anheuser-Busch is exploring various options for participating in the Indian beer market, however no decision has been made on a potential investment in this market."

He added that rising beer consumption in India and the country's growing economy made it "an attractive, long-term business opportunity".

A-B, which has been active in investing in China's fast-growing beer market, has been left behind in the race to gain a foothold in India.

The market is dominated by United Breweries and SABMiller, while Heineken and Asian partner Asia Pacific Breweries have this year invested in a local brewer and announced plans to build on a greenfield site.


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