South Africa: AB Inbev's Legal Battle Over Alcohol Ban Could Be a Presage of More to Come


AB InBev subsidiary SAB went out on a limb when it challenged the government ban on alcohol. While an extension of the ban on liquor sales may yet see the rest of the industry join the case, what is clear is the giant brewer is interested in one thing and one thing only -- profits.

For four years AB InBev subsidiary South African Breweries (SAB) has maintained the letter of its agreement with the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) and the Competition Commission.

Ahead of the gigantic buy-out of SABMiller by AB InBev in October 2016, the Belgium-based brewer conceded to the dti's every whim, smoothing the regulatory way and ensuring the competition authorities gave the local deal the green light.

The agreement signed with the dti included a commitment to invest R1-billion over five years in local agriculture, small enterprise development and social benefit. This was over and above the R1.1-billion that SAB planned to spend on transformation and investment objectives over the period.

While there has been some slippage in the past year, the brewer has largely upheld this side of the bargain.

Where there has been slippage, however, is on the jobs front. The company...

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