* Carlsberg, Singha Corporation sign joint venture deal
* Says Singha to sell Carlsberg brands in Thailand
* Deal to accelerate Carlsberg's growth in the country -CEO
(Adds details, background, quotes, share price)
By Mette Fraende
COPENHAGEN, Sept 28 Danish brewer Carlsberg
signed a joint venture with Thailand's Singha
Corporation, its second attempt to establish a footprint in the
country, as it shifts its focus from sluggish growth in Europe
to fast-growing Asian markets.
The world's fourth-largest brewer said, on Friday, Singha
will sell Carlsberg's international brands and launch Singha
beer outside Thailand.
"This is a perfect co-operation which can really accelerate
our growth in the Thai market," Carlsberg's Chief Executive
Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen said, adding Carlsberg had no plans to buy
the Singha Corporation group.
The deal comes on the same day the world's third largest
brewer Heineken NV won full control of Asia Pacific
Breweries (APB), maker of Tiger beer, in a S$7.9
billion ($6.4 billion) deal which boosts its presence in
"Carlsberg is visible in Thailand today, but is still at a
small scale compared with a partner holding a 60 percent market
share," Rasmussen said.
The companies did not disclose financial details regarding
the joint venture.
Like other big brewers, Carlsberg has been looking more to
emerging markets as well as price increases to offset tough
competition in its more mature markets such as Europe.
Its position in its former growth-driver Russia has been
hampered by government tax measures and legislation designed to
curb alcohol abuse.
Rasmussen said it was possible that Carlsberg would seek
licences to start brewing Singha beer.
"Both elements of the deal are interesting," said Alm Brand
analyst Stig Nymann.
"This can make a comeback in Thailand possible for
Carlsberg. Without the deal that would have a very heavy
project," Nymann said.
The joint venture is Carlsberg's second attempt to establish
itself in Thailand. A partnership with local brewer Chang in
Asia ended in 2005 with legal disputes between the parties.
Carlsberg generates about 12 per cent of its profits and 18
per cent of group volume in Asia and is seeking to expand its
presence in the region. The brewer has said it is looking
actively for acquisitions.
Singha Corporation holds a market share in Thailand of over
Carlsberg shares traded flat at 1133 GMT against a 0.3
percent rise in the Copenhagen stock exchange benchmark index
and a flat-trading STOXX Europe 600 food and beverage
(Additional reporting by Teis Jensen and Kristian Mortensen;
Editing by Mike Nesbit)