The ignominy of it all. SA Breweries (SAB) was once a colossus that strode across the global beer market, inspiring fear and respect (well, sometimes) wherever it went.

Now, 20 years after it first stuck its toe into the world market, SAB has been tucked into that catchall category used by multinationals for territories they haven’t yet quite made up their minds about: Europe, the Middle East and Africa. At least SAB had the benefit of ABInBev’s US$104bn payout to shareholders last year — cash that does compensate for lots of ignominy.

For SA shareholders who agreed last year to swap their shareholding in SABMiller for those in AB InBev, this week’s results for the three months to June (its second quarter) were the first ray of sunlight to emerge since the takeover.

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