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Posted July 2012

Germany – AB-InBev pilloried by corruption watchdog Transparency International

Google, Amazon, Toyota and AB-Inbev are among the least "transparent" major corporations around the world, according to a new study. Transparency International (TI), the Germany-based not-for-profit group, rated how openly the 105 biggest global companies reported their anti-corruption schemes, country-by-country sales and organisational structures. AB-InBev ranked tenth – from the bottom.

TI issued a damning verdict on 10 July 2011 that many of these global leaders “continue to publish too little information about their commitments to comprehensive anti-corruption systems and their sprawling operations. They also report insufficiently on their corporate structures, preventing clarity about their true impact in countries around the world. As a result, the world’s largest companies may contribute to an environment in which corruption can thrive.”

Although the report went largely unnoticed – judging from the media response – TI is not some insignificant meddler. It is the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption. Through more than 90 chapters worldwide and an international secretariat in Berlin, it raises awareness of the damaging effects of corruption and works with partners in government, business and civil society to develop and implement effective measures to tackle them.

Interestingly, the report included findings on AB-InBev because the brewer now ranks among the world’s top 105 companies by size, according to Forbes.

Other brewers will heave sighs of relief that TI did not shed a light on their reporting practices. But, as any long-suffering investor in beverage companies will confirm, they rate hardly better when it comes to transparency in reporting.

In its report, TI focuses on three areas: reporting on company’s anti-corruption programmes, organisational transparency (which refers to disclosing how many subsidiaries they own, at least in part), plus country-by-country reporting (i.e. financial data across all the countries of operations).

As concerns reporting on anti-corruption programmes, the companies under review achieved an average score of 68 percent (100 percent being the best performance). Here AB-Inbev came in slightly under-average at 62 percent. The best performers were the German chemical group BASF and Norway’s Statoil, the energy group. They scored 100 percent.

However, AB-InBev was the worst performer in organisational transparency. Here the brewer only scored 25 percent.

Organisational transparency is particularly important in the case of multinational companies that operate through a network of interconnected subsidiaries, affiliates, joint-ventures and other holdings that may be incorporated in diverse jurisdictions, including secrecy jurisdictions”, says the TI report.

In the final section – country-by-country reporting - AB-InBev did not do any better. It scored 0 percent. But it was not alone. It was joined by 40 other companies which shy from transparency in financial reporting of how much they earn and pay in taxes in each market.

This is not to say that they are engaged in dodgy shenanigans, just that they are not very open about what they do.

TI is very well aware that the overall poor performance by multinationals in country-by-country reporting is the result of regulatory oversight. Meaning: companies are not forced to do so.

On the basis of the analyses, TI has recommended that anti-corruption programmes should be publicly available; companies should publish exhaustive lists of their subsidiaries, affiliates, joint-ventures and other related entities; and they should publish individual financial accounts for each country of operations.

Overall, AB-InBev was not the worst offender, but by the same token it was not among the best in class.

To all appearances, TI’s findings seem to have fallen on investors’ deaf ears because on 10 July 2012 AB-InBev wowed the market with a USD 7.5 billion bond offering, which drew more than USD 30 billion of orders from investors who have been piling into U.S. dollar corporate bonds as of late. AB-InBev’s offering consists of single-A rated bonds in four different maturities from three to 30 years. The brewer plans to use the money to finish its merger with Mexico's Grupo Modelo, the maker of Corona.

That’s probably the reason why AB-InBev not even acknowledged the TI report by saying that their reporting standards are above reproach.

Still, AB-InBev is already the second brewer to have been named and shamed by a pressure group over its reporting standards. In November 2010 the UK charity ActionAid accused SABMiller of siphoning profits out of developing countries and parking them offshore, using a web of tax-haven subsidiaries. SABMiller denied any wrongdoing and said that its practices were within the law. ActionAid acknowledged this, but nevertheless launched a campaign to condemn them as unethical.

Until now, multinational companies have been able to shrug off these accusations with a smile. Perhaps not much longer as these watchdogs progress from shock troop to political factor and their pressure on governments to change the rules of the game mounts.

Years ago, no one cared about environmental pollution or the use of child labour by big multinationals. Thanks to non-governmental organisations and their relentless campaigning, today all multinationals at least feel compelled to say that they abhor these practices.

Perhaps a call for more transparency in corporate reporting does not make for sexy and publicity-grabbing campaigns. However, this does not make the call superfluous. ActionAid’s and TI’s crusades are a start and eventually governments will be forced to take notice.

 

Germany – Radeberger comes around in controversy over Corona bottles

Where would we be without watchful non-governmental organisations? Having been accused by the environmental pressure group Deutsche Umwelthilfe of dodging on deposits (Brauwelt International reported), German brewer Radeberger, which imports Corona, has acknowledged some “oversight”. On 10 July 2012 Radeberger promised that it would now put the Corona bottles into a proper recycling system, which, according to German law, means that the empties have to be returned to source where they are refilled and then shipped back to Germany. In the past, the empties were collected and shipped to Mexico to be “recycled” (whatever that means in Mexico), in exchange for which Grupo Modelo sent new bottles to Germany. This is in clear violation of German law.

Since only new bottles were sold in Germany, Deutsche Umwelthilfe charged Radeberger with unlawfully collecting a deposit of EUR 0.08 for returnable bottles, whereas it should have asked consumers for a deposit of EUR 0.25 as applies to non-returnable bottles.  Read on

 

UK - Government to assess the impact of minimum pricing

Home Office minister James Brokenshire has told Parliament that the Government is to produce an Impact Assessment on the effect of minimum pricing on the industry and other affected parties in the coming months, the Morning Advertiser reported on 13 July 2012.

The Home Office has set a deadline of implementing a minimum unit price for alcohol by October 2014. A GBP 0.40 (EUR 0.50) per-unit level has been mooted.

That’s lower than across the border in Scotland where the government confirmed in May this year that it wants to set a minimum price for alcohol of GBP 0.50 (EUR 0.64) per unit.
 

USA – Craft brewer Bell’s unveils new brewhouse and muses on a sale

Why would any sane brewer want to use open wooden fermenters? Why indeed. The answer is: because he wants to. When I visited Bell’s new brewhouse in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in June, I was shown a hall where they had fanned out the parts of four 100 year old cypress-wood fermenters. These fermenters were used at Stroh's Brewery until the late 1950s or early 1960s and have been sitting in a warehouse in the Detroit area for more than 50 years. They are 12 feet in diameter and will stand about 8 feet tall. Stroh's was one of the largest breweries in the country until it closed in 1985, the same year Bell's sold its first beer.

When John Mallett, the Production Manager at Bell’s Brewery, heard about the fermenters, he and brewery owner Larry Bell agreed that it would be a great idea to rebuild them. The project is large and complicated, given the age and state of the equipment. Bell’s Brewery has no timeline for when it will make beer. But it’s certainly a project they will enjoy pursuing.

Those of you who know Larry Bell and John Mallett will confirm that, whenever you bumped into them at brewers’ conventions, the two would report on their latest construction work. This has been necessitated by the brewery’s rapid growth. Bell’s Brewery was founded in 1983 as a home-brewing supply shop in Kalamazoo. The company has grown from 160 hl in 1986 to 210,000 hl in 2011, ranking 7th on the U.S. craft breweries list. For this year, Bell’s Brewery forecasts sales of over 230,000 hl.  Read on

 

Australia - Casella Winery launches two beers

Casella Wines, the family-owned winery whose Yellow Tail wine label rose from scratch to become the most popular imported wine in the U.S. in almost no time, has moved into beer with the mid-June launch of two beers: Arvo 34 and Arvo 51.

What can Arvo mean? It’s Australian lingo for “afternoon”, as older Australians will remember. So it’s probably as Australian as kangaroo.

Targeting the 25-34 year-old male age/gender bracket, Arvo is a brew aimed squarely at the Australian market and Australian tastes.  Read on

 

Czech Republic - Budweiser audit to be buried quietly?

Looks like the Ministry of Agriculture, which owns the Budweiser Budvar brewery, is hoping to pull a heavy fire blanket over the controversial audit of the brewery. The audit was supposed to have been completed in June. Now Richard Hunt, a market observer in the Czech Republic, told me that the Ministry informed him that the report is with them, that somebody is reading through it and that other ministries have to read it, too. "They seem a bit vague about it" was his impression.

As reported, the audit was forced upon the brewery by the Ministry in February this year in a power battle between the Ministry and the brewery management over who's got the most say in running the brewery.

Mr Hunt requested to see the audit under the Czech Freedom of Information Act. The Ministry refused him access to the audit report on the grounds that it contains business secrets. He expected that. Still, Mr Hunt plans to appeal against the decision.

He was told by the Ministry, though, that the fee to the auditors has not increased despite them working on it for months. "Such a scenario seems utterly preposterous", Mr Hunt said. Allegedly, the Ministry is paying HZ Consult only CZK 200,000 (about EUR 8,000) for auditing Budweiser Budvar, while HZ Consult allegedly sent in 15 auditors to do the job.

What is more, the Ministry confirmed to Mr Hunt that the lawyer Tomas Jindra, who sparked much controversy when he was appointed to "lead" the audit, even though he was on Budweiser Budvar's supervisory board, was stood down from this role in April. That was when the Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas also kicked him off the brewery's supervisory board, where he had installed himself at the Minister of Agriculture's behest.

Mr Hunt thinks that the Ministry of Agriculture wants to quietly bury the audit over the summer recess, when ordinary Czechs will have other things on their minds - like pickling cucumbers for the winter.

 

Germany – Germany’s discount beer producer Oettinger not for sale

What if Germany's major cheap beer producer Oettinger (10 million hl) was to change hands? Who would want to buy the secretive family-owned company? Although it was only a teenie-weenie rumour that seems to have passed most of Germany's gossipy beer industry bigwigs by, Oettinger's Managing Director and owner Dirk Kollmar was still quick to extinguish it. He told infodienst.de, an online news service, on 4 July 2012 that his company "is not on the menu because it is writing the menu".

The most expensive Oettinger beer I have ever had was in Moscow a few months ago. I paid EUR 7 for a pint – more than I would have paid for a crate (10 litres) of the beer back in Germany.

For years, if not for decades, Oettinger brewery has been the pariah of German beer because of its positioning in the discount segment. In the ranking of major German beer brands, it was often ignored by Germany's big brewers with the argument that its eponymous brand Oettinger was not a brand but a merely a generic label they stuck on their bottles. Then there was the not so funny discussion whether Oettinger was really a brewery and not just a logistics company with five breweries attached. Oettinger self-distributes to the off-trade and ignores the on-trade.

Still, there is no denying that Oettinger has become a major player in the German market. It brews about 6.8 million hl of its own brand and another 3 million hl of own-label products. Moreover, it exports about 2.6 million hl (all figures for 2011), according to Dr Kelch, a market researcher for Brauwelt.

All this makes Oettinger the fourth-ranking German beer producer (as measured in domestic volumes) with a 7 percent market share. Add to that 2.6 million hl of beer exported and Oettinger becomes a 10 million hl takeover target.

It's not a moot point to speculate as to who among its German competitors could buy it. Read on

 

Belgium - AB-InBev told to stop selling low-alcohol beer in Belgian suit

When the going gets tough ... the tough take each other to the court. In early July 2012, the Brussels commercial court ruled that AB-InBev must stop selling its low-alcohol beer Jupiler Blue because its blue-and-white label is too similar to Maes Pils, a beer brewed by Heineken's Belgian subsidiary Alken-Maes. Alken-Maes insisted that the use of blue bottles and cans would confuse the consumer; its blue label was registered in 2006.

Belgian media reported that the ruling will come into effect within a month and will only affect sales in Belgium. Still, should there be any blue cans and bottles of Jupiler Blue around after that, the brewer will have to pay a fine - EUR 50 per bottle or can according to the magazine Trends. Read on
 

United Kingdom - MP slams foreign beer sponsor for British games

The Olympic Games are about to start so it's high time for British jingoists to flex their muscles. The LibDem Member of Parliament Greg Mulholland, who also happens to be the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary "Save the Pub" Group, on 6 July 2012 expressed his dismay at the Olympic Committee's choice of Heineken, over a UK brewed beer, as the official beer of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Mr Mulholland, who has campaigned tirelessly on behalf of the UK brewing industry, has told British media how disappointed he is that a European beer was chosen as the official beer for the Games, instead of a beer traditionally brewed in the UK.

Mr Mulholland has also called on the Government to ensure that any further opportunities to showcase British produce to the rest of the world are not lost to non-British companies purely for financial benefits.

Oh dear, what was he thinking? Probably nothing at all. Jingoism is a primitive reflex, like a knee jerk, that does not involve thinking. Because had Mr Mulholland stopped to think, he would have realised that there are no big British beer brands left that are still British-owned. Carling, Bass, Courage ... all sold to foreign brewers. Moreover, Heineken has been brewed in the UK for decades. So what's the fuzz? Read on

 

Austria - Brewers to celebrate "Brewers' New Year" on 30 September

Don't be surprised when towards the end of September you will be greeted by a cheerful "Happy New Beer" in Austria's bars and pubs. Austria's brewers have decided that far too long a once-cherished tradition has been abandoned: Brewers' New Year which used to be celebrated on 30 September.Read on

 

USA - Anheuser-Busch in trouble in Illinois

You win some, you lose some. AB-InBev may have been successful in acquiring the rest of Grupo Modelo it did not yet own, but in the U.S. it has been prevented from buying the remaining shares in a Chicago beer distributor. In its long-standing dispute with the Illinois regulators over the future of its stake in Chicago's distributor City Beverage, Anheuser-Busch (A-B) has been given until 1 October 2012 to review its case. The request was granted on 20 June 2012.

Last year, the Illinois Liquor Control Commission issued a new law, the craft beer law, which says that brewers cannot operate as distributors too in the state of Illinois.

A-B has owned a 30 percent stake in distributor City Beverage for years. In 2010, A-B tried to buy the rest of City Beverage for USD 150 million to USD 200 million as part of a new strategy to squeeze more money out of the beer value chain. Owning distributors, where possible, is one way to do that.

This move was blocked by the regulators and now A-B finds itself in violation of the new craft beer law.

The delay will give A-B time to negotiate a settlement, or sell its share of City Beverage. Read on
 

Mexico - AB-InBev buys Grupo Modelo - or the rest it does not own yet

At long last. AB-InBev said on 29 June 2012 that it had reached agreement with Grupo Modelo's closely-tied family shareholders which allows it to swallow the half of the leading Mexican brewer it does not already own for USD 20.1 billion or 12.9 times EBITDA before disposals.

The deal is logical, well-priced and cleverly structured.

AB-InBev inherited a 50.4 percent - but non-controlling - stake in Modelo when InBev bought Anheuser-Busch for about USD 52 billion in 2008. The enlarged group had hoped to mop up the rest of the Mexican brewer, but the controlling families launched arbitration proceedings, claiming that the deal broke an agreement that Modelo should be consulted over any change in control of the stake. The arbitration panel ruled in favour of AB-InBev in 2010.

For the sake of appearances, Modelo's CEO Carlos Fernandez has been saying for several years that the controlling shareholders are not interested in selling their stake to partner AB-InBev but these claims have always had a false ring to them.

Readers will remember that Grupo Modelo was quite willing to succumb to an offer by Anheuser-Busch in 2008, when the U.S. brewer was besieged by InBev. At the time, Anheuser-Busch hoped that gobbling up Modelo would make it too big to be taken over by InBev. In the end, the talks came to nothing because August Busch III changed his mind and took InBev's money instead.

Over the past few years, Grupo Modelo has become an even more attractive target. Mexico's per capita beer consumption is growing at about 3 percent annually. Already it is the world's number four beer market behind the U.S., Japan and Brazil in terms of total profits. In 2011, the total beer profit pool stood at USD 1.7 billion, AB-InBev said at the investor conference.

Grupo Modelo, which produced 56 million hl beer last year, is the leader in the Mexican market with a share of 59 percent. Its sole competitor is FEMSA, which is owned by Heineken.

What makes Grupo Modelo even more of a prized asset is its brand Corona Extra. 12.7 million hl of Corona were exported in 2011 Carlos Brito, CEO of AB-InBev said. Corona is the major import brand in the U.S. and it is well positioned among the top ten international premium beer brands. Exports helped Grupo Modelo to total sales of USD 6.4 billion last year and an EBITDA of USD 2.1 billion.

Through the full takeover of Grupo Modelo, AB-InBev will own four of the world's ten major international premium brands (Corona, Budweiser, Stella Artois, and Beck's) - a fact that will not be lost on the analysts.

The reason AB-InBev has had to wait until now to make a final move on Modelo, although its top brass have sat on Modelo's board for the past four years, is money. AB-InBev first had to pay down debt from the Anheuser-Busch deal before it could afford Modelo. The Mexican shareholders were in no rush to sell. All of them being wealthy individuals, they saw no need to accept a rock-bottom offer.

AB-InBev is paying USD 9.15 per share in cash which represents a premium of 30 percent to the closing price of Modelo's shares on 22 June 2012. AB-InBev said it has added USD 14 billion of new bank loans to fund the all-cash transaction, adding that it will reduce its net debt/core profit (EBITDA) ratio to 2.0 times during 2014.

Over the next four years, AB-InBev expects to reap cost savings to the order of at least USD 600 million a year. Given AB-InBev's phenomenal track record of cost-cutting at Anheuser-Busch, it's likely that the savings will be higher.

AB-InBev would not say who is going to lead Modelo in the future. Modelo's CEO Carlos Fernández and fellow shareholders María Asunción Aramburuzabala and Valentín Díez Morodo will continue to play "an important role" on Grupo Modelo’s board of directors, Mr Brito said. Two of Grupo Modelo’s board members will join AB InBev’s board - AB-InBev did not say who - and they have committed to invest USD 1.5 billion of their proceeds from the sale into shares of AB-InBev.

The new and bigger AB-InBev will produce about 400 million hl beer a year, with estimated revenues of USD 47 billion and EBITDA of USD 18 million.

To avoid the wrath of the U.S. anti-trust authorities, Grupo Modelo will sell its 50 percent stake in Crown Imports, its import vehicle in the U.S., to partner Constellation Brands, a listed wine company. Constellation will pay Modelo USD 1.85 billion for the Crown business, whose profits were USD 400 million last year (EBITDA), Felipe Dutra, CFO of AB-InBev said.

Crown Imports distributes Modelo beers in the U.S. in a deal that runs to the end of 2016, it was reported. The agreement between AB-Inbev and Constellation provides AB-InBev with the right, but not the obligation, to exercise a call option for 100 percent of Crown every ten years at a fixed multiple of 13 times EBIT, subject to regulatory approval.

Had Modelo not sold its stake in Crown Imports, the combined Modelo-AB-InBev market share in the U.S. would have risen to perhaps 56 percent, leading to anti-trust concerns.

In any case, the sale to Constellation allows AB-InBev to organise Modelo as it deems fit and decide in a few years' time what to do about its U.S. licence for Corona. Concerning the other international licences for Corona - the brand is sold in 180 countries - Mr Brito said that AB-InBev would respect them. But he also admitted that AB-InBev never had access to these contracts, not even during the recent due diligence process, which could be interpreted as another nod to the U.S. anti-trust authorities.

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2013.
 

USA – Constellation seen as the big winner from the AB-InBev-Modelo deal

U.S. wine company Constellation Brands is one to benefit big time from the AB-InBev-Modelo deal. In a side deal meant to allay antitrust concerns over the Modelo purchase, Constellation Brands has entered into an agreement with AB-InBev to acquire the remaining 50 percent stake of Crown Imports, the Corona importer in the United States.

Per the agreement, Constellation Brands will pay USD 1.85 billion (EUR 1.5 billion) to complete the Crown Import acquisition and will hold the right of distribution, marketing and pricing of Modelo’s brands in the United States. AB-InBev will be responsible for maintaining the supply and quality of products along with innovations.

Crown Imports, the Modelo-Constellation joint-venture, had USD 2.5 billion in sales last year with EBIT standing at USD 430 million (EUR 345 million). It is the number three beer supplier in the U.S. with an estimated 6 percent of the market. Corona is the leading U.S. imported beer, and Crown's Modelo Especial is number three.

Many think that the Crown purchase could heighten pressure on Dutch brewer Heineken, the fourth-largest U.S. supplier, with roughly 4 percent of the market.

After the completion of the deal, Constellation Brands will become - on a volume basis – the third-largest beverage alcohol company in the United States.

Constellation Brands is not exactly loaded with cash to fund the acquisition and will have to ask the banks to help it out. It is anticipated that the acquisition will increase Constellation Brands’ debt to over 4 times EBITDA, which is a lot. Read on
 

USA – Budweiser Budvar ends distribution deal with Anheuser-Busch

The state-owned Czech brewery Budejovicky Budvar (Budweiser Budvar) on 3 July 2012 terminated its U.S. distribution deal with AB-InBev and transferred the rights to distributor United State Beverages based in Stamford, Connecticut.

In 2007, Anheuser-Busch - now AB-InBev - agreed to distribute Budvar's Czechvar lagers in the United States. Because of trademark issues, Budvar has exported its lager to the U.S. under the Czechvar brand since 2001.

Originally, the move helped Budvar, which has been fighting a long legal battle with Anheuser-Busch over the use of the "Budweiser" brand, boost U.S. sales.

But Budvar said after Anheuser-Busch was taken over by InBev in 2008, it lost interest in importing Czechvar and didn't meet the imports goals for 2011. Read on

 

China - Tsingtao plans threesome with Suntory and Asahi

Anyone into threesomes? Apparently, naughty Tsingtao is wanting to pull Japan's Suntory into its bed while Asahi is fearing it will have to relinquish the pillow. That's the more colourful interpretation of what is currently happening at Tsingtao, China's number two brewer, in which Asahi has a 20 percent stake. Read on
 

Germany – Brewer Radeberger attacked by environmentalists for dodging deposits on Corona bottles

Deutsche Umwelthilfe, an environmental pressure group, on 4 July 2012 took on Radeberger, Germany’s major brewer and Corona Extra importer, over allegedly not shipping empty Corona bottles back to Mexico for them to be refilled, despite charging German consumers a deposit of EUR 0.08 per bottle for doing just this. Had Radeberger declared the Corona bottles to be non-refillable, which Deutsche Umwelthilfe suspects they really are, the brewer would have had to charge consumers a higher deposit of EUR 0.25 per bottle.

Germany’s environmental legislation frowns upon non-refillable beverage containers and levies a deposit of EUR 0.25 on those bottles which are not returned to their source to be refilled. Deutsche Umwelthilfe claims that Radeberger has misled consumers over the bottles’ ultimate destination – the bin rather than Modelo’s filling hall - thus securing itself a lower retail price (about EUR 4 per crate). Read on
 

Australia - Kirin buys full control of Australian craft brewer Little World Beverages

There is always some reason in madness. On 18 June 2012, in a surprise announcement, brewer Lion confirmed an agreement with the board of Little World Beverages (LWB) to acquire, by way of a Scheme of Arrangement, the 64 percent of shares in LWB it does not already own. The deal values LWB, a craft beer brewer, best known for its brand Little Creatures, with an estimated annual output of 80,000 hl beer, at about AUD 380 million (EUR 312 million) which is plenty of dosh.

LWB was founded in 2000 and was listed on the Australian stock exchange in 2005. For the six months to 31 December 2011 it posted a 22 percent increase in revenue to AUD 43.4 million and a net profit of AUD 6.1 million. In its past financial year LWB had a turnover of AUD 70 million (EUR 58 million) and an EBITDA of AUD 16.6 million (EUR 14 million).

The amazing thing about this deal is the amount of money Lion is prepared to pay: apparently it’s about 20 times EBITDA while Foster's went for 12. Now spend a moment to let this information sink in. To all appearances, Lion's owner Kirin has given its Australian unit Lion the carte blanche to buy whatever becomes available in the craft beer segment. It's an interesting titbit that Lion could also end up with a 20 percent stake in Australian craft brewer Stone & Wood if the takeover of LWB goes ahead. Read on

 

India - Mumbai clamps down on alcohol

It's a hoot - if you can see the funny side of it. The City authorities of Mumbai announced in early June 2012 that they would enforce the archaic Bombay

Prohibition Act of 1949, which means that any person who is carrying a bottle or caught consuming alcohol in a bar without permit would be fined 50,000 rupees (EUR 710) or jailed for five years. From now on, drinking without a permit will be as serious an offence as driving without a licence. Read on

 

USA - New York City wants to ban super-size soft drinks

You would have thought that all Americans are overweight hulks, straddled with so much fat that they cannot see their own toes - that's the impression one gets from following the news. Recent studies have shown that almost two thirds of the country's population are overweight or obese. Availability and advertising seem to contribute to this problem. Limiting both appears to be the answer. In New York City, the mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to prohibit licensed food service outlets from selling containers bigger than 16 ounces, roughly half a litre, of high-calorie drinks like cola, lemonade and punch. This is part of the mayor's plan to fight obesity announced in late May 2012. Read on

 

 

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