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Carlsberg swallows Feldschlösschen drinks

Another traditional Swiss company, Feldschlösschen, is now in foreign hands


The Danish brewery, Carslberg, is taking over the drinks division of Switzerland's largest beverages producer Feldschlösschen for SFr870 million ($488.8 million).

A statement from Feldschlösschen headquarters at Rheinfelden on Friday said that Carlsberg was acquiring the entire beer, mineral water and soft drinks businesses.

Carlsberg is also acquiring the Feldschlösschen wine activities with the exception of the Emil Nüesch Wine Cellars in Balgach, for which a separate owner is being sought.

Feldschlösschen-Hürlimann shareholders approved the sale of the beverages business in May after the board of directors had a month earlier announced a strategic re-orientation of the company to concentrate on its real estate activities.

The board said that despite the fact that Feldschlösschen was the market leader in Switzerland, it could not match the dynamics of the international brands and markets.

It said only one of the large producers was in a position to invest the resources needed to assure the survival of brands such as Feldschlösschen or Cardinal in competition with other intensively promoted beers.

It added that such a strategic partnership was even more important due to the fact that beer consumption in Switzerland had been declining for several years.

Since 1990, annual consumption of beer in Switzerland has dropped from over 70 litres to under 60 litres.

Some shareholders had been vociferous in trying to oppose the sale at the May meeting, but approval of the sale was by a clear three-to-one margin after a five and a half hours session.

Friday's statement said that after completion of the deal, Hürlimann Immobilien would remain within Feldschlösschen-Hürlimann Holding and be renamed REG Real Estate Group.

Further details are to be announced later on Friday.

swissinfo with agencies

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