Swiss probe brewers

Swiss probe brewers

ZURICH, May 30 (Reuters) – Swiss authorities are examining Heineken’s takeover plans for Swiss brewer Eichhof Holdings, on concerns that Switzerland’s beer market could be controlled by two major players.
Swiss competition board WEKO said on Friday that the Heineken/Eichhof group alongside rival brewer Feldschloesshen, owned by Denmark’s Carlsberg, could dominate the market.
The Swiss beer market will have fallen largely into the hands of large foreign players following Heineken’s April bid, valued at 278.5 million Swiss francs ($267.3 million), for Eichhof. The bid remains subject to regulatory approval.
“The Swiss authorities had informed us in advance of their intention. We are cooperating with them in order to reach an outcome as soon as possible,” a Heineken spokeswoman said.
WEKO said it would launch an extended review of the impact of Heineken’s takeover plans on the beer market that would last around four months.
“The examination of the merger will seek a deeper clarification to questions about the stability and the sustainability of a possible collective market-dominant position,” WEKO said.
Eichhof’s beverage division makes beers, non-alcoholic beverages and wine and had domestic beer volumes of 361,000 hectolitres in 2007.

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