Ten weeks after SABMiller shareholders gave the go-ahead for the third-largest merger in corporate history, Anheuser Busch InBev (AB InBev) sent out a voluntary severance offer to more than 1,000 of its management employees in SA. This is the first time in recent history that South African Breweries has undertaken a retrenchment exercise on any scale. Plant modernisation in the 1980s was the cause of the last round of retrenchments. "The group’s been in expansion mode since then so retrenchment was never on the cards," said a former executive. A memo was issued on December 12, which had a January 20 deadline to accept what one recipient said was a "very generous offer". A reminder was sent out 12 days ago, just days after many of the managers had returned to their desks after their year-end break. The deadline has been extended. AB InBev will not say what retrenchment figure the voluntary severance offer is targeting but stressed it would not interfere with the commitment given to E...

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