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AUS/UK: SABMiller calms Pacific Beverages demise talk

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SABMiller has reiterated its commitment to the Pacific Beverages joint venture it operates in Australia with Coca-Cola Amatil.

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The future of Pacific Beverages, created by the two drinks companies back in 2006, has been the subject of recent speculation suggesting its days were numbered. The pending demerger of Foster's Group's beer and wine unit has prompted some observers to believe that SABMiller will move for Foster's Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) business. Such a move would bring the sales and distribution alliance's future existence into question.

Last month, Coca-Cola Amatil's managing director, Terry Davis, countered the rumours, saying that the unit was the subject of “certain investment bankers” in Australia looking to “beat up stories”.

"There are no changes and there have been no changes to our joint-venture arrangement with SABMiller, full-stop,” Davis said. So those investment bankers that are trying to beat up some business, we've seen that not just this year but in previous years, good luck to them.”

However, the announcement earlier today that Beam Global Spirits & Wine has shifted its sales and distribution tie-up in Australia with Pacific Beverages to Coca-Cola Amatil suggested that a split still remains a possibility.

When contacted today by just-drinks, a spokesperson for SABMiller was quick to clarify the company's position on Pacific Beverages. "Both sets of shareholders in the JV remain invested and committed to it," the spokesperson said.

"The production of spirits has never been part of our Australian JV,” he continued, “so this deal will now bring the manufacturing and distribution aspects of the Beam Global portfolio together. This will enable the JV to focus on its beer portfolio, which is consistent with our area of expertise."


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