SAB wins Pilsner Urquell auction

South African Breweries gains control of Czech's biggest breweries

Oct 7, 1999 - South African Breweries said Thursday that is has won the bidding to acquire Pilsner Urquell and Radegast, the Czech Republic's leading two breweries.


SAB will initially buy a 51% interest in a joint venture with Nomura International for $321 million. Following completion of the acquisition of Radegast by Pilsner Urquell, the joint venture will own 96% the combined business. SAB will buy the remaining holdings in the companies by June 2001 for a further $308 million.

The takeover is conditional pending approval of the merger of Pilsner Urquell and Radegast by Czech antitrust authorities.

Pilsner Urquell, with its long history and premium status, is considered a brand with tremendous international marketing potential. SAB was one of 10 brewing companies that showed interest in the acquisition after Nomura indicated it was putting the two breweries on the auction block.

Malcolm Wyman, SAB's corporate finance and development director, Wyman told reporters that SAB sees the U.S., Germany and the United Kingdom as key markets for Pilsner Urquell. "Certainly, we have already identified some key markets. The key developed markets would include markets such as Germany, the United States - which is a very strong market for imported premium beer - and the United Kingdom," he said.