On 26 August, important takeover documents were made available to SABMiller and AB InBev's shareholders ahead of a General meetings on 28 September, where they will vote on the transaction (scheduled on 10 October).
The UK Scheme Document is particularly important for SABMiller shareholders. Nearly 300 pages long, the documents provides information such as the board’s considerations as well an overview of the job loss numbers and fees being paid by to transaction advisers. It also contains the opinion of both the SABMiller European Works Council assisted by EFFAT (see page 277) and the Dreher Breweries Trade Union (member of EFFAT affiliate ESDZ) on the proposed transaction.
AB InBev expects the takeover to lead to a potential job reduction of approximately 3% of the combined workforce, translated to a current estimate of approximately 5,500 job losses across the Combined Group. The job cuts will form part of the $1.4 billion of annual savings that AB InBev has said it’s seeking from the takeover. We do see Latin America as the main sources of these synergies. The two entities have indeed complementary footprints there with strong potential for synergies.
However, Europe and other regions will not be exempted and strong reductions in regional hubs and corporate staff are to be expected. AB InBev sees job losses likely to occur at SABMiller's global headquarters in Woking and the closure of its head office in London within a year. SABMiller’s head office will be integrated into its headquarters in Leuven, Belgium, and Management office in New York.
The maker of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona expects the potential job losses to take place over a three-year period. The news came on the same day the companies disclosed they will pay almost 2 billion U.S. dollars in fees to banks, lawyers, PR firms and other advisers.
EFFAT has recently achieved that the SABMiller EWC assisted by EFFAT remains in place (excluding representatives from Canary Island and from PGM business) after the change of control until new EWC agreement(s) with potential buyer(s) will be signed. The EWC members will be consulted on the sale of the breweries in Central and Easter Europe.
Confronted with this critical scenario, Trade Union cooperation and coordination at European and Global level are more needed than ever. In this regard the IUF and EFFAT are fully committed to support affiliates in dealing with the negative impacts of this hostile takeover.