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INDIA: SABMiller, United Breweries issue beer lawsuit in Andhra Pradesh

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SABMiller and United Breweries have jointly filed a lawsuit against the government of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

The two brewers, which make up the wealth of Andhra Pradesh's beer market, are unhappy with the authority's failure to revise the procurement price of beer in over ten years, a spokesperson for SABMiller told just-drinks today (21 November).

The lawsuit was filed with the Andhra Pradesh High Court at the end of last month, the spokesperson said, with a decision on the Government's perspective on the matter expected on or around 1 December.

"The procurement price for beer was last updated in 1997," the spokesperson said. "Since that time, input costs have risen dramatically, while the retail price of beer in the state has increased by between 300% and 400%."

The spokesperson highlighted the presence of Andhra Pradesh Beverages Corp. Ltd. (APBCL), a state-owned wholesaler which has the right to purchase beer for sale to consumers the state, but is exempt from the procurement limits, meaning the wholesaler is buying beer at 1997-price levels.

""APBCL also sets the retail price in the state, which is astronomically higher than the price they pay us for the beer," the spokesperson added.

Located in southern India, Andhra Pradesh contributes 30% of SABMiller's total annual revenue in the country. SABMiller accounts for 37% of the state's beer market, with United Breweries holding 43%.


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