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Switzerland's biggest brewer calls time

The Swiss brewing giant, Feldschlösschen, is to sell off its entire drinks division, which produces almost half the country's beverages. The company says it intends to concentrate fully on its property business.

This content was published on March 29, 2000 - 17:06

The Swiss brewing giant, Feldschlösschen, is to sell off its entire drinks division, which produces almost half the country's beverages. The company says it intends to concentrate fully on its property business.

Feldschlösschen's chairman, Robert Jeker, announced that the firm planned to sell both its beer and soft drinks divisions by the end of the year. He said the decision had been taken following unwelcome developments in the beer and mineral water business.

Jeker argued that Feldschlösschen had become too big to be bit-players on the European market, but was too small to compete on the world stage.

The company insisted that it would consider the quality of bidding companies as well as the size of their offers. Jeker said Feldschlösschen was looking for a European buyer who could demonstrate a clear strategy and an appreciation of Swiss interests.

Feldschlösschen said it had engaged Credit Suisse First Boston to find prospective buyers. It also revealed that the mineral water business may be sold off separately from its beer producing division. Feldschlösschen produces the Passuger and Arkina brands of water.

The announcement follows a long period of consolidation and mergers in the Swiss brewing industry. The process was accelerated in 1990 when Feldschlösschen formed an alliance with former rivals, Sibra.

Feldschlösschen had already bought up the Hochdorf and Basler Warteck breweries. The Cardinal and Gurten labels were also swallowed up before a formal merger between Feldschlösschen and Sibra was completed in 1996.

By selling off its drinks divisions, Feldschlösschen hopes to be able to expand its operations in the property market. The group's real estate portfolio currently consists of 213 properties with an estimated value of just over SFr 1 billion. In the next five years that value is forecast to rise to SFr 1.4 billion.

swissinfo with agencies


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