With Estonian investment company Hansa Investment, Baltic Beverages Holding AB (BBH), in which Orkla's beverage company Pripps Ringnes AB and Oy Hartwall AB own equal shares, is to acquire an interest in the Lithuanian brewery Utena. The parties have entered into an agreement to establish a new company in which BBH and Hansa Investment will hold a 50% interest and the current owners, Utenos Gerimai, will hold 50%.
BBH and Hansa Investment will be investing a total of USD 12.5 million in the new company. Utenos Gerimai will contribute its current real estate holdings and the entire production plant as well as its brand names.
Located in eastern Lithuania 100 km north of the capital, Vilnius, Utena is one of the leading breweries in the Baltic region. Established in 1977, the brewery has approximately 800 employees. Annual production capacity is approximately 70 million litres of beer and 20 million litres of soft drinks. Utena has its own malt production plant, which has an annual capacity of 12,000 tonnes.
BBH and Hansa Investment will be carrying out an investment programme in Utena over the next two years. The aim is to raise the brewery's products and production technology to international standards and strengthen Utena's existing brand names.
BBH already holds majority shares in the breweries Baltika in St. Petersburg, Saku in Estonia, Aldaris in Latvia and Kalnapilis in Lithuania. In 1996 BBH acquired 50% of the breweries Yarpivo and Taopin in Russia and Slavutich in Ukraine.
Saku, Aldaris, Baltika, Yarpivo and Taopin are clear market leaders in their respective regions. Kalnapilis holds a strong no. 2 position in Lithuania. Slavutich is the second largest brewery in Ukraine. Total sales volume for BBH products is expected to rise to approximately 550 million litres in 1997.
The two breweries Utena and Kalnapilis will be run as separate units in Lithuania.
Astrid Løken Øyehaug, Assistant Vice President Investor Relations, Tel. +47 22 54 44 25, 21 July 1997