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Bass Disposes of Brewing for £2.3 Billion

Bass Disposes of Brewing for £2.3 Billion

Bass PLC (Bass) today, 14 June 2000, announces that it has exchanged contracts for the sale of its brewing business (Bass Brewers) to Interbrew for a total consideration of £2,300 million comprising £1,426 million in cash and the repayment of £874 million of debt owed by Bass Brewers to the Bass Group.

The sale is the result of a strategic review which identified that the disposal is the best option for maximising value from Bass Brewers for Bass shareholders.

The sale is conditional upon the approval of Bass' ordinary shareholders which is to be sought at an extraordinary general meeting of the Company, details of which, together with the relevant resolution, are contained in a shareholder circular which will be issued in due course. The transaction is also conditional upon clearance by the European Commission as it exceeds the relevant thresholds for review under the EC merger regulation but it is not conditional upon UK regulatory approval.

Bass Brewers is one of the UK's leading brewing businesses owning a strong portfolio of brands. It also operates the UK's leading beer export business and has brewing interests in the Czech Republic and these businesses are included in the sale. In the year to 30 September 1999 Bass Brewers generated EBITDA of £236 million and an operating profit of £159 million on sales of £1,821 million. It had net assets of £1,096 million as at 30 September 1999.

The disposal will result in net proceeds of approximately £2,190 million after tax and transaction costs. The gain on the disposal will be approximately £1,400 million which will be accounted for as an exceptional item. A provision of approximately £90 million will be made for tax on the transaction.

The proceeds of the disposal, net of expenses, will be placed initially on cash deposit thereby reducing the Group's net debt and net interest expense. In order to maximise value for shareholders, the Board of Bass will review its alternatives, including the expansion opportunities in Bass' higher growth hotels, restaurants and pubs businesses before applying its financial resources.

Commenting on the sale, Chairman and Chief Executive, Sir Ian Prosser, said,

"Bass Brewers has developed a first rate portfolio of leading brands. It is a strong business with talented people. Interbrew is a major player in the international beer market and together with Bass Brewers will be better placed to meet consumers' needs. I thank everyone in Bass Brewers for their commitment and support over many years and wish them every success in their new and exciting global venture."

Hugo Powell, Chief Executive Officer of Interbrew said,

"We are very pleased with this transaction. We are clearly the best partners for Bass Brewers. We look forward to building further on Bass Brewers' outstanding brand portfolio. It fits in with our strategy of being a world brewer with a strong local presence in our key markets."

Sir Ian concluded,

"Bass is now clearly focused on the global hotel and restaurant and pub businesses. In each of these businesses we have strong brands giving us leading positions and the opportunities for profitable growth are excellent. We will continue to invest in these businesses to accelerate that growth."


For further information, please contact:

Pugh Phillips, Director of Group Communication   020 7409 1919
Mark Rigby, Media Relations 020 7409 8571
Jonathan Atack, Investor Relations 020 7409 8153

Notes to editors:

Bass is an international leisure hospitality group operating in hotels, leisure retail and branded drinks.

  • Bass Hotels & Resorts is the world's most global hotel company whose brands include Inter-Continental Hotels and Resorts, Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn, Express by Holiday Inn and Staybridge Suites. It owns, operates or franchises more than 2,900 hotels and over 480,000 guest rooms in more than 95 countries and territories around the world.
  • Bass Leisure Retail operates about 3,000 managed pubs, restaurants and leisure venues including brands such as Vintage Inns, Harvester, Toby, Browns, All Bar One, It's A Scream, O'Neill's, Edwards, Goose and Hollywood Bowl.
  • Bass Brewers is one of the UK's leading producers of branded drinks including Carling, the UK's No 1 consumer brand, Tennent's, Worthington, Caffrey's, Grolsch, Bass Ale and Hooper's Hooch.
  • Britvic Soft Drinks is one of the leading UK producers of branded soft drinks with brands such as Tango, Robinsons and Pepsi.

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