Anheuser-Busch InBev to Sell U.S. Container Plants to Ball

Factories were focused on soft drink cans. Brewer says it has no plans to get rid of seven remaining beer can factories in the United States.

Brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev said Wednesday it would sell four U.S. container and lid plants to packaging group Ball for $577 million as part of plans to get its debt down. As part of the deal, Ball will continue to supply AB InBev with beverage cans and lids from the plants over the long term as needed as well as keep existing workers in their jobs. AB InBev said that the four plants were focused on soft drink can-making and that it had no plans to get rid of its seven remaining beer can factories in the United States. Anheuser-Busch InBev, whose flagship beer brands include Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck's, was created after InBev bought U.S. brewing giant Anheuser-Busch last November for $52 billion. It is currently trying to sell off assets considered not to be central to its business model to help pay down the massive debt it built up to pay for Anheuser-Busch. "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 in a statement. Earlier Wednesday the company said that it was issuing American Depositary Receipts in the United States to make it easier for U.S. investors to put money into the group. Each ADR will represent one ordinary share. The ADRs are to be traded on an over-the-counter, or off-exchange, basis, the company said. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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