Austria: Heineken affiliate buys Fohrenburg Brewery

Brau Union, beer market leader in Austria and since 2003 an affiliate of Heineken, has increased its share in Fohrenburg Brauerei in Bludenz in the federal state of Vorarlberg, Austria from 11 to 74 percent.

“This cooperation can create new synergies in the brewery and logistics and also strengthen the core of the brand; what is also economically central is that with Brau Union as a strong partner, new customer groups can be tapped in southern Germany and the production site in Bludenz can be further strengthened,” both companies said in a joint press statement today.

Fohrenburg has 135 employees, a yearly turnover of about EUR 29 million (USD 32m) and a yearly production of 140,000 hectoliters.  The product range includes nearly two dozen types of beer, beer-mixes, soft drinks and water.

Fohrenburg entered in 1998 into a cooperation with Rauch Fruchtsäfte, a family owned international operating fruit juice producer from Austria. In 2000 the brewery was acquired by Rauch.

With the new deal, which is still subject to approval by the antitrust authorities, Rauch will sell its majority shareholding in the brewery but will keep a 26% blocking minority together with managing director Wolfgang Sila and the free float.

Wolfgang Sila will continue to be the managing director of the Fohrenburg brewery, thus ensuring continuity.

"Brewing is our core business. With this partnership, we can make better use of existing capacities in the Vorarlberg region and increase them in order to strengthen the export business. Our vision is and remains to make Austria the country of the best beer culture in Europe", adds Magne Setnes, CEO of Brau Union.

Brau Union currently employs a total of 2,700 people and produces nearly six million hectoliters of beer every year. The company operates ten breweries plus additional warehouses in Austria. The portfolio includes, among others, the beer brands Gösser, Puntigamer, Wieselburger, Reininghaus, Edelweiss, Schwechater, Kaiser, Schladminger, Schlossgold, Desperados, Zipfer and Heineken.

“In this structure the trend towards regional specialty beers can be met even better in the future," emphasize Setnes and Sila. Brau Union is planning to transfer the production of more than 100,000 hectoliters of its popular beer-mix Gösser Radler mainly for the distribution in Germany to the newly acquired brewery. The decision could soon be made and filling could start in 2020.

"The production site in Bludenz could easily handle a doubling of the output. However, an overall concept - also for logistics - has to be created for this. All of this will happen by 2020," say Setnes and Sila.

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