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SABMiller Boosts Presence In Namibia, Zambia

MILWAUKEE (AP) ¿ Brewer SABMiller PLC is broadening its business in Africa, including expanding operations in Namibia and buying a beverage portfolio in Zambia.

The London-based brewer of drinks like Miller Lite and Pilsner Urquell said the Namibian government has awarded it a brewing license, something it has sought for more than a decade.

The company has been importing beer into Namibia for more than 20 years and has about 22 percent of the market with brands like Castle Lager and Peroni Nastro Azzurro.

With the license, SABmiller said it will now build a plant there.

The company also announced that its subsidiary in Zambia will buy the Maheu business from Trade Kings Limited for $19.25 million in cash.

The deal includes the brand Super Maheu No. 1, a non-alcholic maize drink available in a variety of flavors. SABMiller said it plans to grow that brand across Africa.

The company already owns Zambian Brewries Group, the country's largest clear beer and soft drinks business. It also owns 70 percent of National Breweries PLC, which controls a large amount of the opaque beer market. Opaque beer contains sorghum or maize and is thick and generally inexpensive, while clear beer is similar to European brews, costs more and is served chilled.

The deal is expected to close in the next two months.

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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