Decision made on Interbrew's takeover of Bass Brewers

Related tags Bass brewers Patricia hewitt Bass brewery

Interbrew has confirmed it is to sell off lager brand Carling following an announcement by the Department of Trade and Industry.Trade and industry...

Interbrew has confirmed it is to sell off lager brand Carling following an announcement by the Department of Trade and Industry.

Trade and industry secretary Patricia Hewitt (pictured)​ has given brewing giant Interbrew until February 2002 to dispose of either Bass Brewers or Carling Brewers.

The announcement, made today (September 18), follows a judicial review in May which forced the DTI to reconsider its earlier ruling that Interbrew should be forced to sell Bass' brewing arm, purchased at the end of last year.

Ms Hewitt said this week that Interbrew would be given a choice between two of the original four solutions, after accepting advice from the Director General of Fair Trading (DGFT).

Interbrew has said it will go for its preferred remedy, the so-called Carling Brewers remedy, which involves Interbrew retaining the businesses of Bass Brewers in Scotland and Northern Ireland, together with the breweries at Glasgow and Belfast and the Tennent's and Bass Ale brands.

The remainder of the Bass Brewers UK business, including the Carling brand, together with the Scottish element of Bass Brewers' on-trade national account customers, would be sold.

Any potential buyer for the package will have to be approved by the Government.

Ms Hewitt said: "I have accepted the further advice of the DGFT that the adverse effects of this merger can be remedied by the divestment to a buyer approved by the DGFT either of Bass Brewers, as originally recommended by the Competition Commission (CC) and accepted by Stephen Byers, or of the businesses and assets known as Carling Brewers.

"I agree with the DGFT that in the light of new information provided by Interbrew, two of the remedies on which he consulted could be capable of remedying the adverse effects identified by the CC, and that Interbrew is best placed to judge which of the two is least damaging to its commercial interests."

The Belgian brewer welcomed the decision, and confirmed that it would work to finalise the sale of the Carling Brewers division "as soon as reasonably possible".

Hugo Powell, CEO at Interbrew, said: "We are pleased with the decision, which clears the way for us to strengthen our UK platform as well as our international brand portfolio." Related stories:

Decision on Interbrew's ownership of Bass Brewers delayed (17 September 2001)

Heineken "to make play for Carling" (10 September 2001)

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