Carlsberg to grow organically & through acquisitions

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New Delhi, Sep 23 (UNI) Danish beer major Carlsberg is planning to set up new greenfield projects as well as looking at acquiring existing breweries for its future growth.

''We will take recourse to both organic and inorganic growth to boost our production and sales in India,'' Carlsberg Chief Financial Officer Mr Jorn Jensen said.

The Carlsberg officials, however, declined to comment on a report that the company was eyeing 60 per cent stake in the Kolkata-based Parag Breweries.

The Copenhagen-based 160 year old beer company plans to start two greenfield units, one in Alwar, Rajasthan and another in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, each with 5,00,000 hectolitres annual capacity.

Production from the two plants will go onstream in 2008, Mr Jensen said.

Carlsberg acquired a brewery in Himachal Pradesh in 2006.

The company executives made it clear that they will continue to follow the same strategy in the years to come and cited figures to indicate that India would be the second highest consumer in Asia after China.

Carlsberg said it expects annual beer consumption in India to grow by more than 140 per cent by 2010.

Company's Senior Vice President (Asia) Jesper Madsen said from a per capita consumption of a litre a day, beer consumption would go to five to six litres a day in the next few years.

Asked, how would beer consumption leapfrog from one litre to such a high level, the executives gave the example of Russia where such a thing had happened.

''A peculiar reason for the phenomenal growth of beer in Russia was a shift from hard liquor to beer, in view of health hazards associated with hard drinks. Besides, the robust economic growth as well as the expected de-regulation of the sector would give a fillip to production.'' The target consumer of Carlsberg is the urban male consumer in the age group of 25-35 years.

The company launched a premium beer brand here recently, which will be available in all the metros.

The Carlsberg officials said the premium segment is nine per cent of total market size of beer in India, but refused to specify what share of this segment Carlsberg will partake.

''India is a market of huge strategic importance and we are committed to continue investing in this country,'' Mr Madsen added.

UNI

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