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Columbia Missourian

Anheuser-Busch InBev to open New York office

By The Associated Press
January 15, 2009 | 5:04 p.m. CST

BRUSSELS, Belgium — Anheuser-Busch InBev is picking New York to help manage its global brewing business.

The world's largest brewer said a New York office will take on some of the management of its global operations now handled by its headquarters in Leuven, Belgium. It said the move makes sense because the U.S. now generates 40 percent of AB InBev's earnings.

The company said St. Louis, where Anheuser-Busch was founded, will remain the head office for its North American operations.

InBev's $52 billion hostile-turned-friendly takeover of Anheuser-Busch raised hackles last year as the city of St. Louis feared the deal would see the brewer reduce jobs and investment there.

But now it's Belgium's turn to lose out. The company is warning of up to 89 job losses in the country, though it says it will try to find workers other posts within the company.

It says Belgium will still remain the location of the company's global headquarters and the center of strategic decisions.

"This includes all shareholders' meetings, the majority of the regular meetings of the board of directors," AB InBev said in a statement.

Chief executive Carlos Brito and other senior executives will keep an office in Leuven, which will remain the head office for Belgium and western Europe.

AB InBev employs some 2,900 people in Belgium and 120,000 worldwide.