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Brazil's government approves A-B, Antarctica alliance
Impact International / May 1, 1998

By Larry Luxner

Brazilian anti-trust agency CADE has given its final approval to the continuation of an accord between Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc. and Companhia Antarctica Paulista, Brazil's No. 2 brewer.

In April 1996, Anheuser-Busch paid $52.5 million for a 5% equity investment in Antarctica Empreendimentos e Participações (ANEP), a new entity that consolidates all of Antarctica's holdings in affiliated companies and represents 75% of its revenues. Anheuser-Busch has options to boost its stake in ANEP to 10% by September 1999 and to 29.88% by April 2002.

The St. Louis-based conglomerate said CADE gave its final blessing Apr. 9 "after the companies presented new details and facts demonstrating the advantages the association will bring to the companies" and to Brazil.

The deal includes a performance commitment signed by CADE and the two brewers that outlines the terms and manner for exercising the remaining equity options held by Anheuser-Busch in ANDEP. It also "affirms the renewability of all agreements, establishing the partnership's long-term viability."

A separate venture calls for export of Antarctica's beer brand, Rio Cristal, to the United States; Budweiser production in Brazil, and joint efforts to develop the Budweiser brand there. That venture, Budweiser Brasil Ltda., is 51% owned by Anheuser-Busch, 49% by Antarctica. The deal combines Antarctica's local market expertise and distribution network of nearly 1,000 Brazilian wholesalers with the U.S. giant's global marketing experience. Antarctica has imported and distributed Budweiser in Brazil since August 1995.

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