• Nigel Fairbrass
Head of Media Relations, SABMiller
+44 20 7 659 0105 or +44 77 9 989 4265
• SAB Limited Media Relations
+27 11 881 8417
There is nothing in SABMiller’s history to suggest that it would become one of the world’s largest brewers with operations on six continents in 60 countries, brewing over 200 different beers at 139 breweries.
Established in 1895 as Castle Breweries, South African Breweries (SAB) had a largely southern African footprint until the 1990s. It then began an international buying spree which now sees it ranked as number-two brewer in the world by sales, second only to Belgium-headquartered Anheuser-Busch InBev.
It owns four global beer brands – Grolsch, Miller Genuine Draft, Peroni and Pilsner Urquell – as well as numerous local beers prominent in their own markets. Twelve of its beers, including Aguila, Castle, Miller Lite, Snow and Tyskie, are number-one sellers locally, with Snow, China’s top-selling beer, out-selling its leading rival by two to one.
While retaining its secondary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, where it all began, SAB set up its primary listing in London in 1999. This was the beginning of an ambitious US$17-billion (R116.5-billion) acquisition drive.
Its success over the past 10 years has been breathtaking, with employee numbers rising from 34 000 to 76 000 and hectolitres brewed from 53-million in 1999 to 239-million today. It has expanded its range from 21 countries to 60 and increased its number of brands from 80 to over 200.
SAB entered the FTSE with a market capitalisation of $5.3-billion (R36.3-billion), growing in recent times to $22.6-billion (R155-billion) – rising from number 88 in size to number 17 on the index.
But the strategy of the company, which changed its name to SABMiller in 2002 after acquiring the Miller Brewing Group, has been much more than buying up whatever is available.
SABMiller’s Bianca Shevlin says that since 1999 it has seen total shareholder return and share price “massively outperform its beverage peer group and the FTSE”. Profit in the same period rose from $746-million (R5.1-billion) to $4.4-billion (R30.2-billion).
This growth is partly because people are drinking more beer: world consumption rose from 22 litres per person in 1999 to 28 litres in 2009, a 21% increase led by Chinese consumption, which is up by 48%.
SABMiller has targeted this growth by acquiring interests in the emerging markets of Eastern Europe, South America, Africa, China and India. Its buying spree has coincided with the globalisation of beer, with four dominant companies acquiring 50% of total beer sales, up from just 23% 10 years ago.
SABMiller’s shareholding base has changed as dramatically as the business has. In 1999 over 80% of its shareholders were South African. South Africans are still the dominant shareholders at 40% of the total, but UK residents now own 31% of the company and Americans 23%.
Growth-orientated companies benefit from interests in emerging markets, but not at the expense of losing out on the world’s biggest market, the US. So, in October 2007, SABMiller announced MillerCoors, a joint venture with Molson Coors Brewing Company.
Cost savings have been key to SABMiller’s successful acquisition strategy. The MillerCoors venture has delivered a total of $481-million (R3.3-billion) in savings since 2008, and is on track to achieve $750-million (R5.1-billion) in savings by 2012.
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The everyday beauty of Soweto
South African photographer Jodi Bieber has a special ability to bring out the beauty in the ordinary, even the disfigured. On the cover of Time magazine she made a mutilated Afghani girl look beautiful, and in her latest book Soweto she makes everyday township life shine.
Launchpad to a billion consumers
By offering to acquire Massmart for some $4.2-billion, Wal-Mart has joined the parade of global companies looking to South Africa as a springboard into what is increasingly seen as the world’s last great investment frontier.
A trek to the start of time
It will probe the edges of our universe. It will be a virtual time machine, helping scientists explore the origins of galaxies. It’s the Square Kilometre Array, and South Africans are at the heart of its development.
Brewing up a global brand
Miller Lite. Tastes great. Less filling. And brought to you by world-beating South African company SABMiller.
Looking south and east for growth
As the shift in global economic power gains momentum, South Africa’s trade is moving eastwards and southwards in a pattern that both reflects the worldwide trend and helps drive it, writes John Battersby.
More than just a celluloid Mandela
There is a special bond between Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman and the man he played in the Clint Eastwood movie Invictus, South African statesman Nelson Mandela.
Africa in the new world order
Kgalema Motlanthe, South Africa’s deputy president, looks at how African economies’ resilient performance during the global financial crisis points to the continent’s new place in a changing world.
Mining history for new solutions
Mark Cutifani, CEO of the multinational AngloGold Ashanti mining company, examines why South Africa’s past is key to successfully doing business here in the future.
Turning up the media volume
Since 1990, South Africa has been a noisy place. After decades of apartheid censorship, the lifting of restrictions on the media led to a cacophony of debate. For the first time in centuries, everyone could be heard, and it was sometimes deafening, writes Anton Harber.
A joule of an energy-efficient car
South Africa, which builds BMWs and Mercedes Benzes for the US market, is in the thick of the race to deliver a truly practical – and stylish – electric car. Meet the Joule.
South Africa: Time to believe
The forgiving philosophy of “ubuntu” helps explain how South Africa managed to transcend its turbulent apartheid past and create a unified democracy, writes Simon Barber.
Finding sound real estate investment
South Africa’s post-apartheid transformation and new middle class are fuelling demand for affordable homes. For private equity fund International Housing Solutions, that means opportunity.
My normal, crazy, mixed-up country
South African hit movie White Wedding is now showing in the US to rave reviews. Jann Turner, who directed and jointly wrote and produced the film, writes about the place that inspired it – South Africa.
Bring on the braai
All South Africans love it – including Nobel peace prize-winning Desmond Tutu – and its rich, smoky smell floats over the country every Sunday. Celebrate the braai with our great recipe for making boerewors, traditional South African farmer’s sausage.