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SA funds to fight for listing in SABMiller deal

SABMiller says it will fight for the listing if the brewer gets taken over by Anheuser-Busch InBev.

FILE: AB InBev approached SABMiller about a takeover that would create a group with a market value of around $275 billion. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG/LONDON - South African shareholders of SABMiller are prepared to fight for a continued Johannesburg stock market listing if the brewer gets taken over by Anheuser-Busch InBev so they can benefit from the future growth of a new global drinks giant.

AB InBev, the world's largest brewer, said last month it had approached SABMiller, the number two, about a takeover that would create a group with a market value of around $275 billion.

Whether or not the merged entity will stay listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, as SABMiller is now, will be a key consideration for South African-based funds required to limit their exposure to international stocks.

SABMiller, with a market capitalisation of R1.3 trillion, is the largest company on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, accounting for 12 percent of its value. The company employs more than 24,000 people in Africa.

Its departure would be a major blow to the exchange, which has been hurt by a global commodities rout.

The chief executive of Public Investment Corp (PIC), a state-owned South African pension fund and SABMiller's fourth-largest shareholder, said on Thursday that SABMiller must remain listed on the Johannesburg exchange after any takeover.

"SAB is a very important company in the South African economy and it is very significant to the JSE. It must remain on the JSE," Dan Matjila told Reuters.

AB InBev's intentions are unclear, given it has not yet made public any offer for SABMiller, which analysts expect could range from about $103 billion to $111 billion. It has until 14 October to make a firm offer.

South African investors own about 10 percent of the company which started out as South African Breweries selling Castle Lager in the dusty gold-prospecting fields around Johannesburg in 1895. The largest three are PIC, Allan Gray Proprietary Ltd, another pension fund, and the SABMiller Employees Benefit Trust, which together own about five percent.