Newly merged brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev said on Dec. 8 it would cut 1,400 jobs in the U.S. as part of its recently closed takeover of Anheuser-Busch. The Belgium-based company also said it would not fill 250 U.S. positions and that 415 contractor jobs would be eliminated.

"To keep the business strong and competitive, this is a necessary but difficult move for the company," Anheuser-Busch President David Peacock said.

The cuts, which will affect about 6% of the company's U.S. workforce, would come at both Anheuser-Busch's St. Louis corporate headquarters, at breweries and its distribution network.

The group closed its takeover of Anheuser-Busch last month, ending Anheuser's roughly 150 years of independence as a premier American brewer while creating the world's largest beer company.

The new company is expected to have net sales of about $36 billion a year, offering consumers some 300 brands, including Anheuser's Budweiser and Bud Light, and InBev's Stella Artois and Beck's.

The job reductions come on top of more than 1,000 cuts already carried out through a voluntary retirement scheme that closed in mid November. Employees who lose their jobs are to receive severance pay and pension benefits based on age and years of service as well as other benefits such as help finding other work.

The company said that it expected the cuts, most of which are to take place this year, to cost it about $197 million and that they are part of $1.5 billion in synergies expected to be created by the merger.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008