United Breweries India to buy Unilever drinks firm

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BOMBAY -- United Breweries, part of India's No.1 liquor marketer UB Group, plans to acquire British marketer African and Eastern (Near East) - a wholly owned subsidiary of Anglo-Dutch consumer products monolith Unilever.

UB Chairman Vijay Mallya told shareholders in Bombay that the purchase of the 50-year-old company, which distributes liquor in the Persian Gulf region, will cost $18m.

The $1.2bn UB is diversifying into international markets, with a joint venture with Britain's Lonrho in Zambia-based Northern Breweries, a minority interest in South Africa's National Sorghum Breweries, a 51% interest in Nepal's Shri Nepal Brewery Co. and a joint venture in Sri Lanka.

UB has also tied in an equal joint venture with Britain's United Distillers and a similar arrangement with Denmark's Carlsberg, both for the Indian market..

Copyright October 1996, Crain Communications Inc.

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