SABMiller pushes further into Poland
high growth beer markets of Eastern Europe with the acquisition of
Polish brewer Browar Belgia for about €65m.
Through its local subsidiary Kompania Piwowarska, the drinks giant will claim a 99.6 per cent stake in the group from Belgian company Palm Breweries, to meet growing demand for its products in the country. The move comes on the back of a strong performance in the region for the brewer over the last six months. Strong volume growth of its brands in Eastern Europe continued to offset stagnant sales increases in more established Western European Markets, according to the company's half year results released this week. In Poland alone, volumes were up by 20 per cent for the six months ending 30 June, despite unfavourable comparative factors such as the affect of last year's football world cup on sales, the company said. With increasing demand within the country for its brands, SABMiller said that the investment would provide a means with which to better keep pace with the market. Kompania Piwowarska's managing director Mark Bowman said the deal granted the company a further production facility in the country without the need for construction costs. "We are optimistic about our future growth prospects and Browar Belgia provides us with expansion capacity without the need to develop a greenfield site," he stated. Browar Belgia has a single production plant in Kielce, South East Poland, with a capacity of 1m hectoliters. Along with the acquisition of the site, SABMiller will also acquire the Wojak, Gingers and Frater brands to further expand its market share in Poland. Eastern Europe has dominated sales volume growth for beer in recent years, according to analyst Euromonitor. It estimates that by the end of this year, volumes will have increased by 35 per cent in the region from 2002, more than five per cent higher than the emerging markets of Asia.