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CAIRO -- Al Ahram Beverages Co. (ABC), Egypt's major beer and wine maker and distributor, plans to retain the marketing department of El Gouna Beverages intact when it completes its $66 million takeover of the company in the next few days, ABC marketing officials say.

The agency arrangements at both companies will remain unchanged in spite of earlier speculation that the sale would lead to agency realignments, said Fatenn Mostafa, CEO of the wine division of ABC.

ABC expects to continue to use Ama Leo Burnett to handle El Gouna's advertising, Ms. Mostafa said. Burnett has held the Sakara beer and Obelisque wine account for about a year and a half since El Gouna's startup.

In addition, ABC will keep TMI/J. Walter Thompson Co. and Grey Worldwide on its respective beer and wine accounts, Ms. Mostafa said. ABC spends about 5% of its retail sales on advertising, or about $1.6 million for beer and $900,000 for wine last year.

Ending all speculation of future realignments, Ms. Mostafa also emphasized that she is "definitely opposed to consolidating advertising agencies."

Whether the top marketing officials of El Gouna stay on is in negotiation, but Ms. Mostafa says she hopes they will stay. "We want to keep them and also the top people at the brewery and wine maker." -- Susan Postlewaite

Copyright April 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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