August 12, 2008 / 2:23 PM / in 9 years

Anheuser-Busch boosts employee buyout program

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Anheuser-Busch Cos Inc on Tuesday said it approved an enhanced employee buyout program that it expects will reduce its salaried work force 10 percent to 15 percent.

The revised program will provide enhanced pension and retiree medical benefits, as well as severance, to salaried employees who are at least 55 years old as of December 31, 2008.

For eligible participants who are among a group of about 360 key employees, the severance benefit will range from 15 months of base salary to double the sum of base salary and a target bonus. It will also include continuation of medical benefits.

Anheuser said Chief Financial Officer W. Randolph Baker was the only executive among its “named executive officers” eligible for the buyout. If Baker agrees, he would receive a payment of $2.71 million, the company said.

The brewer of Budweiser, which agreed to a $52 billion takeover by Belgian rival InBev NV, said it expects to recognize one-time charges of $400 million to $525 million in the third and fourth quarters for enhanced retirement and severance costs, with related cash expenditures of $100 million to $140 million.

Anheuser-Busch shares slipped 9 cents to $67.91 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Reporting by Martinne Geller, editing by Maureen Bavdek

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