12/20/1999 10:00 

Carlsberg A/S has entered into an agreement with Oy Rettig Ab to acquire the remaining 40% shareholding in the Finnish brewery Oy Sinebrychoff Ab. The agreement, which may require approval from the authorities, implies that Carlsberg becomes sole owner of Sinebrychoff and the Swedish brewery Falcon Holding AB. Carlsberg also becomes majority shareholder in the Russian brewery Ao Vena.

Oy Sinebrychoff Ab is the oldest industrial brewer in the Nordic region and is involved in the sale and production of beer and soft drinks in Finland, Sweden and Russia. Sinebrychoff's Finnish beer sales are around 1.6 million hectolitres and it has a market share of 40%. In the financial year 1998/99 it had a turnover of DKK 5,351 million and an operating profit of DKK 240 million, including activities in Sweden and Russia.

The brewery has a strong beer brand portfolio, led by Koff and Karhu, and Sinebrychoff is market leader in the cider and energy drink sector in Finland. The company also produces soft drinks for Coca-Cola Nordic Beverages A/S. Sinebrychoff has 870 employees in Finland. Carlsberg acquired a majority of the company in October 1997.

Falcon Holding AB is one of Sweden's leading breweries with beer sales of 1.2 million hectolitres and a market share of around 23%. Falcon has a joint distribution company with Coca-Cola Drycker Sverige AB, a Coca-Cola Nordic Beverages subsidiary since April 1997. Falcon has 565 employees.

Carlsberg and Sinebrychoff acquired 30% each of Falcon in 1995, each acquiring a further 20% in 1996. In connection with Carlsberg's purchase of a majority shareholding in Sinebrychoff in 1997, Carlsberg transferred its 50% share of Falcon to Sinebrychoff.

Sinebrychoff holds 66.7% of the brewery Ao Vena in St Petersburg, Russia, which it acquired in 1993. The brewery, which has 350 employees, has just finished a comprehensive modernisation to increase capacity in an area with significant growth potential.

Group managing director Nils S. Andersen commented on the agreement:

"The acquisition of the remaining shares in Sinebrychoff and Falcon strengthens Carlsberg's position in the Nordic region and is in-line with Carlsberg's strategy of investing in its focus markets of beer and soft drinks. Both Sinebrychoff and Falcon have in the recently-ended financial year improved earnings as well as market share. The Carlsberg brand has improved sales in both markets and with increased focus we see further growth potential for the brand, which is positioned in the international premium segment."