US: SABMiller closes Sparks, Steel Reserve buy

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SABMiller has closed its acquisition of US brands Sparks and Steel Reserve after US competition authorities cleared the deal.

The brewing giant announced the US$215m deal last month after striking an agreement with the brands' owner and long-time SABMiller contract brewing partner, McKenzie River Corp.

Sparks is a citrus-flavoured beer-based drink infused with caffeine, taurine, guarana and ginseng. The brand, which has seen sales more than double in two years to 317,000 hectolitres, will compete head on with products from Anheuser-Busch, including B(E) and Tilt.

Steel Reserve, a stronger, fuller flavour brand brewed for a minimum of 28 days, saw sales leap by 35% between 2003 and 2005 to 1.6m hectolitres.

Tom Long, recently-appointed president and CEO of SABMiller's US arm Miller Brewing, said: "We acquired these two fast growing brands to improve our portfolio mix and increase our overall profitability. Importantly, the new product development relationship with McKenzie River president Minott Wessinger will further expand our innovation capability and expertise."

Sectors: Beer & cider

Companies: SABMiller

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