Interbrew acquires brewing activities of BassBrussels, 14 June, 2000 - Interbrew, the World's Local Brewer©, has reached agreement with Bass PLC to purchase its brewing activities ("Bass Brewers") for GBP 2.3 billion. This acquisition represents a further landmark transaction for Interbrew. Its completion is subject to regulatory approval. Bass Brewers and the former Whitbread Beer Company have a combined UK market share of 32%. Bass' pub estate does not form part of the acquisition. Interbrew will finance this transaction from its own resources.
Bass Brewers is the second largest brewer in the United Kingdom, with a turnover of GBP 1.8 billion and operating profit of GBP 159 million in the year to 30 September 1999. It owns six breweries in the UK and three in the Czech Republic. Bass Brewers owns a brand portfolio which includes leading brands such as Bass, Carling, Tennent's, Worthington and Caffrey's.
Hugo Powell, Chief Executive Officer of Interbrew, commented: "We are very excited about this new transaction in the United Kingdom. We are acquiring an outstanding business with a longstanding beer heritage. It fits in with our core strategy of acquiring strong brands and high quality production facilities in local markets. We are looking forward to building on these benefits."
On 25 May, 2000, Interbrew acquired the brewing activities of Whitbread PLC. Pending regulatory approval of the Bass Brewers acquisition, Interbrew UK (formerly Whitbread Beer Company) and Bass Brewers will continue to operate independently. They will be focused brewers, committed to the UK beer heritage and offering a rich portfolio of both ales and lagers. This will be beneficial for UK consumers.
Interbrew will honour the existing employment terms and conditions and pension rights of Bass Brewers' UK employees. Iain Napier, Chief Executive of Bass Brewers, stated: "Interbrew is clearly the best partner for Bass Brewers. We will become part of a truly international group that is passionate about beer, focused on the brewing business and relies on its local people. This will enhance the long term future of Bass Brewers' brands and breweries and create new career opportunities."
The terms of the agreement include the acquisition of the Bass name as well as Bass Brewers' operations in the Czech Republic, where Bass' major brand is Staropramen. On completion of this transaction, Interbrew will become the second largest brewer in the Czech Republic with a market share of 13%.
Through Bass Beers Worldwide, Bass is the UK's leading beer exporter, its main export markets being the USA, Italy and Spain. Being part of Interbrew will create greater opportunities for Bass' export products.
Bass Brewers UK joint venture with Royal Grolsch NV. is included in the agreement and fits in with Interbrew's strategy of being "The World's Local Brewer©". Interbrew sees the Grolsch brand as complementary to Stella Artois. Interbrew looks forward to meeting its new partners to develop a strong partnership for future success.
Hugo Powell concluded: "Interbrew's operations in the UK will become the most important in the group. They will help us to achieve our ambition to be a leader in the world beer market. Beer is a local business. Therefore our local strength, our local brands and our local people will be key to our future success."
Lehman Brothers and Mc Kinsey London Office acted respectively as financial and strategic advisors to Interbrew on this acquisition.
Interbrew - the World's Local Brewer©
Interbrew is the 2nd brewer in the world in terms of volume. It is a privately owned company headquartered in Belgium that employs over 34,000 people worldwide. Interbrew, The World's Local Brewer©, is committed to combining its global position and ambition with leveraging its local brands. The strength of its portfolio is the combination of strong local brands, in many cases market leaders, with world brands including Stella Artois, Hoegaarden, Leffe and Labatt Blue. In total, Interbrew's beers are sold in over 110 countries. Visit Interbrew at corporate web site www.interbrew.com and commercial web site www.beer.com
Tel: +32-16-31 57 69
Patrick Verelst, Investor Relations
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