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AB InBev sells off plants in debt ploy

ANHEUSER-BUSCH InBev, the world's largest brewer, said yesterday it had agreed to sell four metal beverage can and lid manufacturing plants to United States plastic and metal packaging products maker Ball Corp.

Ball will acquire the plants, which belong to AB InBev's US metal packaging subsidiary Metal Container Corporation, for US$577 million in cash, AB InBev said.

Under the deal, Ball Corp will enter into a long-term agreement to continue to supply AB InBev with metal beverage cans and lids.

In early trade, AB InBev shares were up 1.13 percent at 26.02 euros (US$36.62), against a 0.8 percent rise for the DJ Stoxx European food and beverage index.

The divested can plants are in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Georgia, while the divested lid plant is in Florida.

"The sale of this group of soft drinks-focused plants represents another step in our de-leveraging program, allowing us to rationalize capital while retaining those facilities that remain most relevant to our beer business," CEO Carlos Brito said.

AB InBev is seeking US$7 billion from divestments to help repay US$45 billion in loans.


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