Bloomberg News

SABMiller Denies Africa Tax Allegations, Will Engage Officials

June 17, 2011

June 17 (Bloomberg) -- SABMiller Plc, the world’s second- biggest brewer by volume, denied allegations that it dodged taxes in some African countries and said it’s prepared to discuss the matter with authorities.

Officials from South Africa, Zambia, Tanzania, Ghana and Mauritius are to meet this month to discuss tax payments made by London-based SABMiller, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing Logan Wort of the African Tax Administration Forum. The meeting will be held on June 28 in Cape Town in the wake of a report by ActionAid, a U.K. non-profit group, which challenged the way the brewer paid taxes in those countries, the newspaper said.

“SABMiller strongly refutes the allegations made in ActionAid’s report,” the company said in an e-mailed response to questions from Bloomberg News. “We do not engage in aggressive tax planning in any part of our operations, and the report includes a number of flawed and inaccurate assumptions.”

ActionAid said in November that SABMiller avoided paying $31 million in taxes in Africa and India through legally permissible tax-avoidance strategies.

SABMiller, which has stock-exchange listings in London and Johannesburg, said it paid $2.1 billion in taxes to African countries in the past financial year.

The African Tax Administration Forum’s Lebo Leshoro confirmed by phone today that SABMiller will be discussed at the June 28 meeting. The Pretoria-based organization didn’t return calls from Bloomberg News seeking further information.

The forum, which was set up in 2008 to promote efficient tax administration among 28 member states, has no statutory or policy-making powers. It brings together heads of tax administration to discuss African tax policy, its website shows.

--Editors: Paul Jarvis, David Risser.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Brand in Cape Town at rbrand9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Gavin Serkin at gserkin@bloomberg.net.


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