Molson Inc. has completed its previously announced purchase of Bavaria, one of Brazil's leading beer brands, from Companhia de Bebidas das Américas (AmBev). The sale received Brazilian regulatory authority approval December 13, 2000.

"With the completion of this transaction, we are well into phase one of our international strategy, which is to successfully enter two of the top five global beer markets," said Daniel J. O'Neill, president and chief executive officer of Molson. "Our profitable growth strategy is extending from our core strategic brands and limited regional growth in Canada, to the US import market, and now internationally into high growth markets such as Brazil."

The Brazilian beer market is four and a half times the size of the Canadian market with annual production of 88 million hectolitres. Presently ranked fourth, Brazil is expected to surpass Germany to become the third largest beer market in the world with an annual growth rate of 4.5%, more than four times Canada's. The Brazilian beer market is also highly concentrated with four major competitors, a growing young adult market and industry experts forecast an estimated 26% increase in per capita beer consumption by 2004.