Denmark’s fourth largest brewery, A/S Bryggeriet Vestfyen, will be sold to Olvi plc, the largest Finnish-owned brewery and soft drinks company. A conditional purchase agreement valued at EUR 6.76 million for a majority holding of 60.88 was signed in May. An offer to acquire the rest of the stock based on an enterprise value of EUR 20.17 million was made to the other 726 shareholders who have to decide upon the sale until 31 August 2021. If by this time at least 90% of the shares will be offered and all the other conditions of the purchase agreement are met, the final transfer will be completed.
The company had two major shareholders who have already sold their shares: Largest shareholder with 32 percent was Augustinus Industri A/S. Next came Bryggeriet Vestfyens Fond that owned 28 percent of the shares. Olvi has already acquired these 60.88 percent majority holding through the conditional purchase. Another 14 percent are owned by Bryggeriet Vestfyen and the remaining 26 percent of the shares are owned by a large number of smaller shareholder. At least 30 percent of these remaining shares have to be sold. Otherwise Olvi is allowed to step back from the purchase agreement. However, Olvi has also the right to approve the acquisition with a smaller holding.
Bryggeriet Vestfyen consists of a brewery producing beer and soft drinks in Assens, as well as the Indslev microbrewery located in Norre Aaby. Bryggeriet Vestfyen was established in 1885 in Assens on Funen and produces beer, soft drinks and water for its own brands and private labels, and has contract brewing agreements with other breweries. The portfolio of brands includes, among others, Vestfyen, Willemoes, Frejdahl, Indslev and Jolly Cola. In 2015, as the first brewery in Denmark, A/S Bryggeriet Vestfyen opted to cease the use of environmentally harmful heating oil in the production, in favour of CO2 neutral biofuel.
The company employs 100 people. In 2020, Vestfyen's sales volume was 652,000 hl, net sales EUR 24.6 million euro and gross margin (EBITDA) EUR 952,000. Olvi Group's sales volume was 7.66 million hl, net sales EUR 414.9 million and gross margin (EBITDA) EUR 81.4 million in 2020.
"The Danish market is intensely competitive but can provide good growth potential for Olvi. Olvi wants to develop the company's business in the long term from local starting points, leveraging on Olvi Group's long experience in beverage markets. The company's geographical location is good, close to the beverage markets of Central Europe and the Nordic countries. We are glad to acquire a brewing company in a market that is new to us, having the ability to produce a versatile and trendy product portfolio," says Lasse Aho, Managing Director of Olvi.
“We have had a dialogue with several potential investors who have shown interest. However, we have no doubt that in Olvi Group we have found the right owner to lead Bryggeriet Vestfyen into the future,” says Chairman of the Board Poul Bertelsen in a press release.
The future owner is a financially sound and strong group with a set of values that matches Bryggeriet Vestfyen, Bertelsen added. But even more importantly for him is the fact that Olvi has assured to keep jobs and production in Assens and Indslev.
Thomas Augustinus, who represents the largest shareholder Augustinus Industri, points out that Olvi is entering the Danish market with clear growth ambitions and industry-specific know-how.
Bryggeriet Vestfyen has been making a loss for the last three years. In February 2019, the brewery fired its long-standing CEO Poul Mark who assumed this role with the company for the last 16 years. His successor became in August 2020 former sales director Rasmus Damsted Hansen, who after a stint as acting took up a permanent role as CEO.
As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Danish brewing industry seems to be in the state of further consolidation. In June, Denmark’s oldest family-run brewery, Bryggeriet S. C. Fuglsang in Haderslev as well as Mineralvandsfabrikken Frem in Ribe had been sold to Royal Unibrew. (inside.beer, 18.6.2021)