Swiss brewery sparks interest

Heineken, Interbrew, others eye Feldschloesschen

Apr 9, 2000 - Several brewers have expressed an interest in acquiring Feldschloesschen- Huerlimann Holding, the Swiss brewery that has decided to quit the business after 123 years. Feldschloesschen plans to become a real estate company and that business.


Heineken, Interbrew, Brau-Union, Carlsberg and South African Breweries are all said to be considering offers.

Feldschloesschen has been hurt be falling beer consumption in Western Europe, but its suitors are looking further east. For instance, the Czech Republic saw consumption rise to 161.8 liters in 1998 from 156.9 liters in 1995. "We're focusing on Eastern European countries for expansion," said Stefan Leppin, a spokesman for Germany's Binding-Brauerei. "Western Europe is either stagnating or developing downward."

The Swiss company's beer business may not be its greatest asset. Its mineral-water business, which includes the Passugger brand, fueled a 22% increase in 1999 sales at the drinks unit. The company hasn't decided whether to sell its mineral water and soft drinks business separately or with the beer activities.

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