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Home | News | International | Hartwall changes hands

Hartwall changes hands

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van Boxmeer: future best served by Royal Unibrew

Royal Unibrew acquires Finnish brewer from Heineken

What wasn’t sufficiently interesting for a multinational brewer has become a transformational acquisition for a regional competitor. Hartwall has changed hands, with Royal Unibrew acquiring Finland’s number two brewer from Heineken for DKK 2.8 billion, or approximately 470 million euros.

Royal Unibrew, which is funding the acquisition through a combination of bank debt and share issue, places an Enterprise Value of DKK 3.3 billion on Hartwall. Beyond beer, with Hartwall having an estimated 22% of the Finnish market, the business is also number two in the energy drinks market with a 26% share, and has positions in cider, RTDs and mineral water. There are two well invested in production facilities, in Lahti and Karioki.

And it is transformational for Royal Unibrew, which to date has been the distant second-ranked brewer in its home Danish market with production facilities in Lithuania and Latvia and a 25% stake in Hansa Borg Breweries in Norway. The addition of Hartwall’s beer volume pushes its combined production figure from 5.4 million hectolitres to 8.4mhl annually. Annual revenues will grow by around 70% to DKK 5,632 million.

As noted by Royal Unibrew CEO Henrik Brandt, the addition of Hartwall is in keeping with the brewer’s strategic intent of being a strong regional brewer within beer, malt beverages and soft drinks with leading positions in the markets or segments in which it operates. Hartwall will continue to be operated as a separate business division. 

“We really value Hartwall’s market position, strong brands and considerable innovation, and the acquisition of Hartwall supports Royal Unibrew’s strategy very well,” said CEO Henrik Brandt. “Hartwall and the Finnish market are in many ways similar to our Danish operations and we are confident that, as a long-term focused owner in a close partnership with the company’s management and employees, we will be able to increase Hartwall’s commercial and operational strength and thus improve earnings.”

Heineken was a relative newcomer to the Finnish market, having acquired Hartwall as part of the fruits of the carving up of Scottish & Newcastle with Carlsberg in 2008. The transaction also strengthens the brewers’ relationship with Royal Unibrew obtaining a ten year licence to brew Heineken for Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. 

Heineken CEO Jean-Francois van Boxmeer commented, “We are pleased to announce this transaction, as we are convinced that Hartwall’s future development is best served as part of Royal Unibrew, our long-time business partner in Denmark and an important beverage company in the Nordics and Baltics regions.”

The Dutch brewer plans to use the proceeds to reduce its debt. It is targeting a net debt to EBITDA (beia) ratio of below 2.5 times by the end of 2014.

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2014. It is subject to approval by the Estonian competition authorities and consent from mutual business partners.

 

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