SABMILLER has boldly predicted it will gain a competitive edge from the $52 billion (£26bn) merger of InBev and Anheuser Busch over the next two to three years.
SAB says InBev and Anheuser will be "distracted" by the process of achieving the $1.5bn savings from the merger, allowing their rival to steal a commerical march.
And SAB, the world's second-biggest brewer – the new giant will be No 1 – also claimed that the City was off-beam in thinking it was most vulnerable to the world leader through their rivalry in emerging markets.
SAB's intervention follows the announcement on Monday that Anheuser, America's biggest beer company, had agreed to be taken over by Belgian InBev.
Malcolm Wyman, chief financial officer of SABMiller and a key architect of its own international acquisition programme, told The Scotsman: "Over the next two to three years we will have something of an advantage.
"They (InBev/AB] are bound to be distracted, as will employees and distributors, about where these $1.5bn of costsavings are going to come from."
SAB's view, Wyman said, was that the new group "does not change the industry landscape".
He added: "(InBev] never lacked resources or scale to compete with us in the past, and so this deal does not change that.
"They already had a strong balance sheet. They could have raised funds at any stage."
It is understood SAB thinks the new bigger rival will also be distracted by ironing out cultural differences between InBev and AB.
One industry source said: "Squeezing those costsavings out will take a lot of work. And the culture at AB, which is essentially a one-country business, has never really been seen as particularly cost-driven.
"You could see why SAB might think it could gain commercial advantage while that costcutting and cultural change process is gone through."
It is understood SAB is relaxed about continuing competition between the groups in the US, particularly since SAB unveiled its American joint venture with the third-biggest US player, Molson Coors, late last year.
One insider said: "The AB/InBev merger gives costcutting potential but not necessarily local nous or local expertise."
Wyman dismissed City concerns that SAB would suffer in emerging markets because InBev would have extra firepower from the AB acquisition.
He said SAB went "head to head" with InBev only in Romania, Hungary and the Czech Republic, with limited overlap in Latin America and Russia. Wyman said SAB was strong in Columbia, Panama and India where InBev/AB was not represented, while InBev was dominant in Brazil where SAB did not have a presence.
He said in the two Latin American countries where the two groups competed – Ecuador and Peru – SAB had a much stronger market share, 96 per cent in Ecuador to InBev's 4 per cent and 85 per cent in Peru to InBev's 8 per cent.
"The acquisition of AB will not change anything here," Wyman said.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North