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News briefs: challenges and changes ahead for UK brewers
April, 2008
 
This week, Scottish & Newcastle finalised the £10bn sale of its operations to a consortium consisting of rivals Carlsberg and Heineken, and Inbev could be set to reduce staff at one of its UK breweries.

S&N shareholders except deal

Shareholder's in UK-based brewer Scottish and Newcastle (S&N) this week agreed to the sale of the company to Carlsberg and Heineken for 10bn.

The deal, which will see the group's international operations divided up between the two rival brewers was accepted by a strong majority vote, with the final handover expected on 28 April, S&N said.

Company chairman Sir Brian Stewart told shareholders that the company should be proud of its achievements.

"Let me remind you that S&N today is a top six global brewer - Scotland's largest industrial multinational - in the top half of the FTSE 100 - a market leader in the UK, France, Russia and India - a major exporter to the US; and the world's largest cider maker," he stated  "It is precisely because we have achieved such strong positions worldwide that the company has been so attractive to others in a consolidating world market in brewing."

As part of their consortium Heineken and Carlsberg will split S&N's assets, with the former, as planned, acquiring full control of the profitable Baltic Beverages Holdings (BBH) joint venture.

Carlsberg said that BBH, which it had operated jointly with S&N since 2004, was a "key growth asset" due to its dominance in major markets such as Russia.  The company will additionally take control of S&N's French, Greek, Chinese and Vietnamese operations.

For its part of the deal, Heineken will gain S&N's UK, Irish, Portuguese, Finnish, Belgian, US and Indian operations in a move it says will provide undisputed leadership in European beer production. 

The group will, as a result add a number of leading brands such as Strongbow cider and Newcastle Brown Ale to its portfolio.

InBev considerers UK job cuts

UK workers union GMB say it has entered into talks with brewer Inbev over plans to cut 168 jobs at its Samlesbury in Preston, England, according to press reports.

The union said that it would any decision to make the cuts once a ninety day consultation period finished in May, Forbes said.

Inbev's decision to cut its current 2380-strong workforce at the site, which brews leading brands like brews Stella Artois, Tennent's Lager, Boddingtons and Castlemaine XXXX, was part of plans to improve efficiency at the site, according to the report.
 
Source: beveragedaily

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