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INDIA: SAB invests $10m in India beer venture

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South African Breweries (SAB), three months after it was granted an approval to set up a holding company in India, is to invest a total of $10m in two Indian breweries, according to local Indian papers.

SAB has already bought a sizeable equity in Delhi-based Narang Breweries for $1.8m. It now has plans to acquire a 65% stake in Mumbai-based Associated Breweries for over Rs360m ($8m).

SAB is reported to be aiming to produce 1m hectolitres in India within seven years.

Its growth strategy in the country will centre on acquiring poorly performing brewing facilities across the country and upgrading them into world class manufacturing outfits, according to Indian sources.

This will be done with a view to making India a production base from which to sell into neighbouring Asian markets, the sources said.

The company first applied permission to form a joint venture in India with Narang in February 1999. However, clearance was held up for almost a year because of the lack of a clear cut policy for admitting foreign investments into the liquor sector.

The proposal was cleared only when SAB reworked it to form a holding company which would subsequently obtain clearance to make downstream investments.

Companies: SABMiller

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