Pripps Ringnes expands their business in Russia



Orkla

BBH (Baltic Beverages Holding) - owned 50 per cent by Pripps Ringnes and 50 per cent by Hartwall - is to acquire a stake in the Taopin Brewery, Russia.

Taopin is based at Tula, a town approximately 200 kilometres south of Moscow. At Taopin's general meeting, a decision was approved to conduct a directed share issue to BBH, as a result of which the share capital in the brewery will double. BBH's contribution will be an investment programme valued at USD 11 million. In return, it will obtain 50 per cent of the shares outstanding in the brewery.

Founded in 1974, the Taopin Brewery has around 700 employees. The brewery's annual production is approximately 60 million litres, of which beer accounts for 90 per cent. Taopin's biggest brands are Tolskoye, Kolikova Polje and Taopin. The brewery is the market leader in the Tula region. Of the company's markets outside its domestic region, Moscow is the most important.

Taopin is a wholly privatised company with a total of about 1,000 shareholders, most of whom are the personnel and management of the brewery.

BBH is to carry out its programme if investment at Taopin during the 1997 - 1998 period. The aim of the investments is to build brands, to develop sales and distribution operations and to raise product quality and improve production technology to international levels. At the same time, production capacity is to be doubled to approximately 120 million litres.

BBH is already a majority shareholder in six breweries in the East. These are the two Russian breweries Baltica (St. Petersburg) and Yarpivo (Yaroslavl, Northeast of Moscow), Slavutich (Zaporochy, Southeast Ukraine) and the three Baltic breweries Saku (Estonia), Aldaris (Latvia) and Kalnapilis (Lithuania).

Saku, Aldaris, Baltica, Yarpivo and Taopin are all clear market leaders in their respective regions. Kalnapilis and Slavutich are both the second-largest brewery in their countries, but are the biggest in their part of the country. Total annual sales for all breweries in the BBH Group, including the newcomer Taopin, will be around 460 million litres during 1996.

For further information:
G=F6ran Orre, Pripps Ringnes, tel.: +46 8 757 7000
Per-Olav Lie, Pripps Ringnes, tel.: +47 22 06 98 17

Lisbeth Lindberg, Director Information and Investor Relations, Tel.: +47 22 50 10 80

29 November 1996

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