INDIA: SABMiller silent on Mohan Meakin withdrawal

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SABMiller has stayed silent on reports that one of its supposed targets in India is no longer for sale.

UK weekly magazine The Business claimed late last week that Mohan Meakin, India's oldest beer and spirit company, has been taken "off the table". SABMiller has been rumoured to have been in discussions with Mohan Meakin since early-2005, although the brewer never confirmed this.

Citing a "well-placed source", The Business said that Mohan Meakin has been pulled from the market. "I wouldn't say SAB has walked away, but the (Mohan) family that were trying to sell the business are taking it off the table," the source was cited as saying.

"SAB is still looking at (India) but it's a difficult market to do deals in," the source added.

When contacted by just-drinks today (15 May), a spokesperson for SABMiller declined to comment, either on the report or speculation that the brewer had been in talks with Mohan Meakin.

The spokesperson moved to play down the need for acquisitions in the country. "The suggestion that we have to do a deal to maintain growth in India is a nonsense," the spokesperson said.

SABMiller has 11 breweries in the country, and holds a 37% stake of the Indian beer market, second behind United Breweries, which accounts for 47%. Mohan Meakin, meanwhile, controls around 8%.

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