November 18, 2014 / 7:40 AM / 4 years ago

Carlsberg becomes no.2 in Greece with Olympic Brewery takeover

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark’s Carlsberg (CARLb.CO) has agreed to take over Greece’s third-largest brewer, Olympic Brewery, bolstering its existing operations in the country and creating what it said would be the number two player in the lucrative Greek beer market.

Carlsberg's company logo is pictured on a coaster in the bar in Riga, May 6, 2013. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

The combined group will have a market share of around 29 percent, the Danish brewer said in a statement on Tuesday. That puts it behind only Dutch rival Heineken (HEIN.AS).

“The merger with Olympic Brewery and the creation of a strong number two player in the Greek market represents a step-change for our local business,” Carlsberg Chief Executive Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen said.

Carlsberg gave no financial details.

With gross sales volumes of 139 million hectolitres, Carlsberg is the world’s fourth-largest brewer, while Olympic Brewery produces 550,000 hectolitre annually.

Carlsberg will own 51 percent of the combined company and the current shareholders of Olympic Brewery will own the remaining 49 percent.

“Carlsberg is sending a signal with this deal that supports management’s effort to gain operational efficiency and cost reductions in Western Europe,” said analyst Michael Friis Jorgensen from brokerage firm Alm. Brand Markets.

Olympic Brewery’s most recognised brand is Fix, while Carlsberg uses the Mythos brand in Greece, along with its international premium portfolio like Tuborg, Carlsberg and Kronenbourg.

The Danish brewer said it expects the combined company will generate synergies in areas such as procurement, production and distribution, but gave no details.

The chairman of the New Olympic Brewery will be Lars Lehmann from the Carlsberg Group, while the chief executive will be Alexandros Karafillides, also from the Carlsberg Group.

Reporting by Ole Mikkelsen; editing by David Clarke and Clara Ferreira Marques

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