AB InBev Selling 4 Plants To Ball Corp.

BRUSSELS (AP) -- Anheuser-Busch InBev said Wednesday it will sell four U.S. packaging plants to Ball Corp. for $577 million to help pay off debt.

AB InBev has recently been selling businesses to repay the massive debt burden it built up last year to pay for the $52 billion takeover that formed it.

It said the plants make soft drinks cans and lids and would allow its remaining packaging business to focus on beer cans.

Chief executive Carlos Brito said the sale was "another step in our deleveraging program, allowing us to rationalize capital while retaining those facilities that remain most relevant to our beer business."

Ball has promised to offer employment to the 635 active employees of the plants in Fort Atkinson, Wis.; Columbus, Ohio; Rome, Ga., and Gainesville, Fla. The plants will continue to supply Anheuser-Busch with metal drink cans and lids.

AB InBev expects the deal to close at the end of the year or early in the first quarter of 2010.

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