Page last updated at 12:42 GMT, Friday, 8 January 2010

Beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev cutting European jobs

Stella Artois lager
Stella Artois is one of the firm's biggest-selling brands

Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, is to cut 800 jobs across western Europe, 10% of its 8,000 workforce in the region.

The firm said the move was a response to falling beer sales, with the layoffs spread across Belgium, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

The news triggered protests at the firm's brewery in the Belgian town of Leuven, where it has its headquarters.

Anheuser-Busch InBev's brands include Becks, Budweiser and Stella Artois.

"Even though beer has traditionally proved one of the most resistant products in less prosperous economic times, our industry isn't immune to the general economic climate," the company said in a statement.

As a result, it said it needed to be "slimmer and more flexible".

In the UK, the firm has a major brewery outside Newport, south Wales, where it makes Stella Artois for the UK market.

Anheuser-Busch InBev was formed in 2008 when Belgium-based InBev bought Anheuser-Busch, the owner of Budweiser, and the largest brewer in the US.

InBev itself was formed in 2004 when Belgian Interbrew merged with Brazil's AmBev.

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