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CCU Slumps in Chile as BofA Says Sell on AmBev Pressure

Cia. Cervecerias Unidas SA (CCU), Chile’s biggest brewer, fell the most since 2008 after Bank of America Corp. recommended investors dump the shares amid falling beer sales and intensifying competition.

CCU, controlled by Chile’s Luksic family, slumped 5.5 percent to 7,740 pesos at 1:01 p.m. in Santiago, its biggest fall on a closing basis since December 2008. The country’s benchmark Ipsa index advanced 0.5 percent.

Bank of America cut its rating to the equivalent of sell from hold, saying the Santiago-based company’s alcoholic beverage business was disappointing in the first quarter. Brazilian rival Cia. de Bebidas das Americas, also known as AmBev, is likely to push to expand Chilean operations, according to Bank of America.

“We look for AmBev to continue leveraging excess affiliate capacity, cheap shipping and a strong peso to grow its Chilean operations and pressure CCU profitability,” analysts Robert Ford and Melissa Byun wrote in an e-mailed note today.

CCU yesterday reported net income of 40.3 billion pesos ($86 million) in the first quarter, lower than average estimate of 42.6 billion pesos of three analysts in a Bloomberg survey.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eduardo Thomson in Santiago at ethomson1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Papadopoulos at papadopoulos@bloomberg.net

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