Nov 27 2008

Heineken threatens SABMiller’s German plans

Published by at 11:48 pm under Companies,Top Stories

SABMiller’s plans to double its market share in Germany within a few years might have been dealt a cruel blow even before they got implemented.

Stefan Schörghuber, boss of the conglomerate Schörghuber (which owns, among others, the third biggest brewery group in Germany) died unexpectedly (he was only 47). Today Financial Times Deutschland (FTD) reported the conglomerate might have to sell its brewery interests to keep the ship afloat. 

That sounds like an opportunity for SABMiller, but it’s not: The Dutch brewer Heineken already owns 49.9% of Brau Holding International (BHI), Schröghuber’s brewery interests. And Heineken would dearly like to own the rest to give it a proper foothold in the German market, FTD reported. 

(Should Heineken get in in a big way, SABMiller might find it more difficult to grow.)

Paulaner, Kulmbacher Karlsberg and Fürstenberg count among the breweries in the BHI stable. It contributes about 40% to Schröghuber’s turnover and employs about 6,300 people. 

The rumour was denied by Schröghuber, which also owns Arabella International (also active in South Africa).

Heineken has no right of first refusal to the remaining shares in BHI. FTD quoted a beer analyst who said, “BHI’s future is dark. It owns strong premium brands. But, needs weight behind it”.

Apparently “people with knowledge of Schröghuber” said the brewery, hotels (Arabella) and airplane leasing company Bavaria International were all “huge construction sites”.  

* For a translation of the article, e-mail me at editor (at) thebigpond (dot) eu.

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