AB InBev set to shed weight in South Africa

Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) is said to have sent out a voluntary severance offer to over 1,000 mid-level managers in South Africa on 12th December as it prepares to trim its workforce in the country, South African Business Day reported on Monday.

The brewer which acquired SABMiller, its nearest rival in a $103bn deal last year sent out a mouthwatering offer to mid-level managers with a 20th January deadline.

The company will not say what retrenchment figure the voluntary severance is hoping to achieve but it noted it would not interfere with the commitment it made with South African antitrust regulators which allowed the merger to proceed. AB InBev had agreed to maintain the same number of employees in SABMiller’s South African operations for a period of five years from the date of the merger. It also agreed that no union employee (covered by a bargaining unit agreement) may receive a voluntary separation offer for a period of five years.

Robyn Chalmers, Communications director for AB InBev Africa confirmed that a voluntary severance process had been initiated and said it was meant for employees at a “certain management level in South Africa”.

Given the conditions put in place by South African regulators to maintain job numbers and AB InBev’s cost-cutting objectives, it is inevitable that any management jobs cut will be replaced by jobs created below supervisory level.

No employee will be forcibly retrenched…..this process will not interfere with commitment on job numbers, as different positions will be created and announced in due course,” Chalmers said.

She explained that some changes were being introduced to processes, ways of working and the structure of the business as well as roles.

She added that it was “too early in the process to say how many people may opt for the voluntary severance offer, or what the impact in terms of cost savings may be.

Insiders say 60 people had been targeted so far.

We understand that during this period of change, some employees may wish to voluntarily exit the business, which is why we have introduced a voluntary severance offer,” she said.

Soon after the merger of AB InBev and SABMiller was finalized in October, AB InBev announced plans to shed 5,500 jobs worldwide as part of its plan to save $1.4bn annually from the merger as it promised investors.

One Response to AB InBev set to shed weight in South Africa

  1. Basil Moses says:

    I hope same wont be applicable to SAB-Miller holdings in Nigeria: Interfact Breweries,Pabod, Voltic, International Breweries and other interests.

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