Our Bureau

Hyderabad, July 13

The beer market in Andhra Pradesh, already a leader in the brewery sector is hotting up. Close on the heels of the Singapore-based Asia Pacific Breweries announcement of setting up a `greenfield' brewery, comes the promise of another possible venture from the makers of the global `Budweiser' brand Anheuser Busch.

The S.K. Jaipuria Group, which is diversifying into the beer bottling and marketing business, is planning a joint venture initiative with Anheuser Busch International in India, with Andhra Pradesh as a focus State.

CM APPRISED

The joint venture details, which are being worked out, would be for bottling, manufacturing and marketing of Budweiser beer for the entire Indian market. Mr S.K. Jaipuria, Chairman of the group, along with the top brass of Anheuser Busch met the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Dr Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, in Hyderabad on Wednesday.

The discussion centred around the setting up of a possible `greenfield' brewery as well as contract manufacturing in Andhra Pradesh. The State Government was receptive to the idea and wanted the project to move ahead, according to sources.

In addition to Mr S.K. Jaipuria, from Anheuser Busch, Mr Steve Burrows (CEO and President) and top executives, Mr Andrew Day and Mr Mark Shumm, were present at the meeting with the Chief Minister.

CAPACITY

Currently, the global beer brand `Budweiser' is imported and sold in India. Though the scale of investments were not immediately available, the minimum capacity brewery that could be in the offing was 5,000 hectolitres, sources said.

The proposal to go in for contract manufacturing of `Budweiser' beer with an arrangement with Crown Breweries of A.P. by Anheuser Busch was also discussed by the partners. The S.K. Jaipuria Group is basically into Pepsi bottling, Raymond clothing and real estate.

APB Ltd announced on June 30, that it was setting up a new joint venture company called Pearl Breweries Private Ltd (PBPL) with the New Delhi-based, Jaipuria Beverages & Food Industries Ltd. PBPL, would invest about $15 million in a greenfield brewery outside Hyderabad with a brewing capacity of 250,000 hectolitres.

APB would hold 67 per cent equity and would contribute through a combination of internal resources and external borrowings.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated July 14, 2006)
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