SABMiller aims to fend off Heineken in South Africa

CAPE TOWN Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:33am BST

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CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - SABMiller (SAB.L) (SABJ.J) aims to protect its 90 percent market share in South Africa from rival Heineken (HEIN.AS), the head of the brewer's South African unit said on Monday.

The world's second-largest brewer was also confident it had a solid case against South African charges of violating anti-competition laws, Managing Director Norman Adami said.

London and Johannesburg-listed SABMiller is facing a challenge from Heineken, which is trying boost its presence in Africa's biggest economy.

"They have expressed their ambition to achieve a 20 percent share of the market and that signals their serious intent and we've signalled that we intend a 90 percent share of the market," Adami told reporters after a presentation at a business school.

SABMiller, the maker of Peroni and Miller Lite, gets about 85 percent of its profits from the emerging markets of Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Heineken makes around 40 percent of its earnings in emerging economies.

Adami also said the brewer was confident it had a strong defence in a South African anti-competition case.

"I think we will be fully vindicated," he said.

The case, which has been going on for about six years, involves allegations that SABMiller abused its dominant market share to the detriment of independent distributors.

(Reporting by Wendell Roelf, writing by David Dolan; Editing by Ed Cropley)

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