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US: Miller Brewing hit by US$500m lawsuit

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Miller Brewing Co. is being sued by India Breweries Inc. The lawsuit says that the two companies reached a 10-year licensing agreement in 1999 for India Breweries to brew and sell Miller High Life and other Miller brands in India, an agreement Miller is alleged to have backed out of.

India Breweries, based in Toronto, Canada, entered a joint venture with Indian brewer Mohan Meakin Ltd. that included improvements to Mohan breweries where the Miller brands would be produced.

The lawsuit alleges, however, that Miller executives rejected those breweries, and postponed plans to visit other breweries.

In 2000, Miller said that the other breweries did not have the capability to produce its beer. The lawsuit contends that these "trivial alleged deficiencies" could have been easily fixed, and were used by Miller as "a subterfuge" to break the contract. Miller formally terminated the pact in 2001.

In a statement, Miller spokesman Scott Bussen said that his company had fulfilled its contract obligations, and the pact expired after India Breweries "did not deliver on commitments they had made."

India Breweries is claiming an out-of-pocket loss of US$5m, and potential lost profits of US$500m.


Sectors: Beer & cider

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