Global consolidation in the brewing industry reached new levels this week with the takeover of Miller by South African Breweries. The £3.4bn deal has created SABMiller, an international beer business second only to the US giant Anheuser Busch. But the short-term impact of the deal in the UK is likely to be limited as the new company's business is heavily weighted to North and South America, with Europe accounting for only 16% of the value of its operations. This could all change if SABMiller makes a bid for Scottish and Newcastle. Earlier this year there was speculation of a three-way link between SAB, Miller and S&N and industry insiders still think this could be on the cards. S&N has a long-term contract for the brewing, sales and distribution of Miller and Miller Genuine Draft and its absorption would provide it with a western European platform. However an S&N spokeswoman downplayed the idea: "We have quite different strategies from SABMiller and are confident of the direction we are taking." One senior brewing executive said: "I don't see the benefits of the SABMiller deal. There is not much overlap so there will be few cost reductions. SAB's problem is they don't have a top class international brand, but they might try to turn Miller into one." The deal was announced with SAB's results for the year to the end of March. Pre-tax profits were down 6% to £414.7m on turnover up 4% to £2.98bn. {{NEWS }}

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