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AB InBev plans to cut jobs after SABMiller takeover

Anheuser-Bush, the brewer of Budweiser, still runs its North American operations out of St. Louis.
Anheuser-Busch announced Monday that it will expand production at its Arnold, Mo., Metal Container Corporation facility.

More details are emerging about Anheuser-Busch InBev’s takeover of rival brewer SABMiller, which is expected to close in a few weeks.  Documents from both companies provide a glimpse of job cuts, brand growth and reasons behind the roughly $100 billion deal.

AB InBev says it will cut at least 3 percent of the combined company’s global workforce. Those reductions will be phased in over three years. The Budweiser brewer has roughly 150,000 employees in 26 countries, while SABMiller’s workforce totals around 70,000 in more than 80 nations.

“It is clear that job losses in the Combined Group will be required,” SABMiller Chairman Jan du Plessis outlined in a letter to shareholders.

“And that AB InBev intends to implement the rationalization, relocation or closure of a number of SABMiller’s global and regional offices.”

There are some units, including sales divisions, where post-combination plans are not in place because of regulatory guidelines.  More job reductions could occur in those areas as AB InBev aims to save more than $1 million a year by the end of March 2020.

The documents do not provide details about what might happen to staffing levels in St. Louis. AB InBev previously stated that operation will serve as the North American headquarters for the combined company.

Brand Management

The information also defines the brands that will be under the umbrella of the world’s largest brewer. It will sell the following in the U.S.:

  • 10 Barrel
  • Bass
  • Beck’s
  • Best Damn
  • Blue Point
  • Breckenridge
  • Bud Light
  • Bud Light Lime
  • Budweiser
  • Busch
  • Busch Light
  • Elysian
  • Four Peaks
  • Golden Road
  • Goose Island
  • Hoegaarden
  • Leffe
  • Lime-A-Rita Family
  • Michelob Ultra
  • MixxTail
  • Natural Light
  • Oculto
  • Rolling Rock
  • Shock Top
  • Stella Artois

Even though the current brewers of Budwieser and Miller Lite are coming together, one company will not be controlling those brands. As part of the effort to gain regulatory approval in the U.S., AB-InBev previously announced plans to off-load the Miller label to MolsonCoors.
Overall the AB InBev-SAB Miller combination will have more than 400 beverage brands throughout the world.

Emerging Markets 

AB InBev’s efforts to gain a presence in some emerging global beer markets is one of the main reasons behind the combination. And the big prize for the Belgian-based company is Africa, where it does not have significant operations.

Anheuser-Busch InBev Logo
Credit AB InBev
AB InBev says the global headquarters for the combined company will be in Belgium

The documents show AB InBev officials believe SABMiller has “the greatest exposure to developing markets of any international brewer.” The company is number one in beer market share in several African and Latin American countries.

Not a Done Deal

There are still several steps to be carried out in the next few weeks before the world’s biggest beer deal is completed.

The big day is shaping up to be Sept. 28. Shareholders for both companies are expected to meet separately to vote on the deal. Those sessions are expected to begin around 3 am St. Louis time.

A court hearing to rubber-stamp the transaction process in the United Kingdom is set for Oct. 4. SABMiller is currently headquartered in London.

Then the aspect of the complicated deal to essentially move the brewing rivals under one corporate umbrella in Belgium is expected to close on Oct. 10.

Wayne Pratt is the Broadcast Operations Manager and former morning newscaster at St. Louis Public Radio.