Anheuser-Busch has warned it expects a one-off charge of up to US$1bn in the second half of 2008, as the brewer offers incentives for older employees to retire.

Anheuser (A-B), recently bought by InBev in the beer sector's biggest ever takeover, said it will face charges of between US$400m and $525m in the third and fourth quarters of 2008.

The one-off charges are a consequence of the brewer's new early retirement plan, devised to shave between 10 and 15% off its workforce, A-B announced yesterday (12 August).

Around 360 "key" employees would be eligible for retirement under the scheme, which claims to offer enhanced pension and medical benefits to employees who turn 55 before the end of December.

Vice president and chief financial officer Randolph Baker is the highest profile employee eligible for the scheme. He will receive a US$2.7m payout, should he accept, A-B said.