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E-Malt.com News article: 3564

Chile, Santiago: USA brewing force, Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc., intends to sell its 20 % stake in Chilean brewer CCU in March only in the Chilean market. Anheuser-Busch announced that it would sell the stock in Chile rather than in the United States. The sale would occur "without the intervention of CCU," Chilean brewery said in a statement on October 29, according to American City Business Journals. Anheuser-Busch ruled out any share offer in the United States through American Depositary Receipts (ADRs). The deal was expected to be carried out both in Santiago and on Wall Street, Reuters revealed. "Anheuser-Busch has informed this company that it will administer the sale of its CCU stock in the Chilean market, without carrying out the registry process in accordance with the laws that govern stocks in the United States," CCU said in a statement.

Earlier this year Anheuser-Busch announced its plans to sell CCU after rival Heineken bought a portion of CCU last year. The company paid an estimated $224 million for its stake in CCU in January 2001. Anheuser-Busch is the second-largest stakeholder in CCU, which is controlled by a joint venture between Quinenco and Heineken in which the two hold 61.6 percent. Heineken bought the stake from Schoerghuber Stiftung & Co. KG.

The relationship between U.S.-based Anheuser Busch and CCU has been strained since Dutch rival Heineken NV indirectly bought a controlling stake in CCU last year despite Anheuser-Busch's efforts to prevent it. Heineken took a 50 % stake in Inversiones y Renta, or IRSA, the holding company, which controls 61.6 % of CCU. Quinenco owns the other 50 % of IRSA.

Although CCU previously had announced that it would collaborate with the sale of the stock by Anheuser-Busch, now it says that the "the sale, once its complete, will occur without the intervention of CCU," the statement said. CCU stock rose 0.65 percent to 2,780.00 pesos per share in the Santiago Stock Exchange.

CCU holds 90 % of the domestic market share for beer in Chile. It brews Cristal, Escudo, Cordoba and Schneider beers in Argentina and produces or distributes foreign beers, including Budweiser, Guinness and Paulaner. CCU also bottles mineral water and soft drinks, and is Chile's bottler of PepsiCo drinks. CCU produces, sells and distributes Budweiser beer in Argentina through its subsidiary CCU Argentina, in which A-B holds a 10.8 percent share. CCU Argentina also exports Budweiser to Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay.

30 October, 2004

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