France/Germany: Karlsberg to sell French brewery

Privately owned Karlsberg Group from Homburg in Germany, not to be confused with Danish brewer Carlsberg, announced today to sell its business in France which is bundled in the Licorne Group to French investor UI Gestion and some of its local management under the lead of managing director Dominique Baudendistel. According to the announcement, the company is currently in concrete sales talks.

The Licorne Group which comprises of Brasserie Licorne, Karlsbräu CHR and Saverne Transport is to remain a partner of Karlsberg for export business worldwide, but especially to France.

The Licorne Group used to produce three million hectoliters of beer. After a necessary restructuring in recent years, the group lost about two thirds of its sales mainly with private label products and has today a production of about 900,000 hl of beer.

The remaining Karlsberg Group in Germany still makes about 1.6 million hl of beer and beer mixes and is focusing predominantly on its German brands Karlsberg and Mixery. The only remaining brewery of the group is located in Homburg/Saar only 100 km north of Saverne not too far from the French border. In addition, the group owns the mineral water, juice and soda company Mineralbrunnen Überkingen-Teinach with the brands Teinacher, Krumbach, Niehoffs Vaihinger and Afri Cola.

“After more than 30 years, we decided to transfer our engagement in the French market to a new owner in order to concentrate on our brand business in Germany. The Licorne team, led by Dominique Baudendistel, has developed the Licorne Group into a rapidly growing company in recent years. I am very happy to have found an experienced partner in UI Gestion, that wants to continue this very positive development of the Licorne Group with the participation of the management team and with whom we want to maintain close business relationships, "said Christian Weber, chief representative of the Karlsberg Brewery.

The former Brasserie de Saverne (Alsace) was founded in 1845 and has been part of the Karlsberg Group in Homburg since 1989. In 2007 the Brasserie de Saverne was renamed Brasserie Licorne - after the city coat of arms of Licorne (unicorn) by Saverne and the beer brand of the same name. The main business activity of the Licorne Group (Brasserie Licorne, Karlsbräu CHR and Saverne Transport) with its production site in Saverne is the distribution of brands (e.g. Licorne, Karlsbräu) and private labels in the area of ​​beer and other beverages.

“I am very much looking forward to the opportunities that UI will offer for the further development of the Licorne Group. At the same time, I would like to expressly thank my colleagues from Karlsberg for the trustful cooperation in the past years. We want to continue working together in relevant areas in the coming years, ”says Dominique Baudendistel, Managing Director of the Licorne Group.

Michel Deprez, CEO of UI Gestion, is also looking forward to future cooperation: “Dominique Baudendistel and his team have done outstanding things for the Licorne Group and French beer in general in Saverne in recent years. For example, the Licorne brand again achieved double-digit growth rates in 2019 - significantly more than the French beer market. We are therefore pleased to be able to lead the Licorne Group into a new chapter with this team.”

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