Molson Coors in Talks to Sell Brazilian unit

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Molson Coors in Talks to Sell Brazilian unit

12/14/2005
MONTREAL -- Molson Coors, the world's fifth-largest brewer, continues to have discussions with possible buyers for its money-losing Brazilian unit, Cervejarias Kaiser, Molson Coors Brewing Co. CEO Leo Kiely told Bloomberg News.

"We've been in discussions now with a few key players, talking about our strategic options," Kiely said in the report.

The company stated it may sell all or part of Kaiser after the unit lost sales to Cia de Bebidas das Americas, the Brazilian unit of No. 2 brewer InBev. Heineken may bid for an additional stake in the brewer, Brazil's Valor Economico newspaper reported. Heineken controls 20 percent of Kaiser and Molson Coors the rest, reported Bloomberg News.

"We'd like to stay in Brazil, if we can find a winning way to do it," Kiely told Bloomberg News.

Heineken is competing against Fomento Economico Mexicano of Mexico for Kaiser, the newspaper said. Cervejarias Kaiser posted a loss before income taxes of $24 million, Denver- and Montreal-based Molson Coors said last month, according to the report.

Kiely didn't identify the companies with which Molson Coors is in "talks" with, according to Bloomberg News.

"We continue to believe Femsa and Heineken will be the most likely bidders for Kaiser," UBS Securities analyst Caroline Levy said in a Nov. 27 report, according to Bloomberg News.

Levy said in the report she expects a sale of Kaiser in the first quarter of 2006.

Molson Coors stock fell 2 cents to $65.40 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

The Molson Coors was created in February in a $3.4 billion merger between Molson Inc. and Adolph Coors Co.