Beer monopoly to be sorted out in July

  • 2000-07-06
VILNIUS (BNS) - Attorneys representing Danish company Carlsberg in
Lithuania are to announce the planned concentration of breweries at
Lithuania's Competition Council next week, Egidijus Bernotas of the
Bernotas and Dominas-Glimsted law firm said.

The council will have to determine if one manager for the three
largest Lithuanian breweries wouldn't hurt the Lithuanian beer
market. If Norway's Orkla and Danish company Carlsberg's plans to
form one of the world's largest beer concerns, Carlsberg Breweries,
ferment, it would take an enormous share of the Lithuanian market.

The Orkla group owns a 50 percent stake in Baltic Beverage Holding,
which manages Lithuanian breweries Kalnapilis and Utenos Alus.
Carlsberg controls the Svyturys brewery in Klaipeda, Lithuania. Over
the first five months of this year, the three Lithuanian companies
had control of 72.7 percent of the Lithuanian beer market between

"As long as there is no reply from the European Union's Competition
Council, there's no sense in investigating this," Lithuanian
Competition Council director Rimantas Stanikunas told BNS.

Orkla and Carlsberg will have to get the EU Competition Council's
blessing because the merger would mean a serious concentration of the
Scandinavian beer market.

"Such an entity would, according to our rough calculations, occupy
around 70 percent of the Lithuanian market. Of course, that would
have a negative effect on competition," Stanikunas said.

Carlsberg's executive board discussed the future company's activity
in Lithuania this week.

Svyturys general director Tomas Kucinskas after returning from
Copenhagen this week said no final decision had been made. He said
the structure of the new company in Lithuania and the Baltic states
should become clear by the end of July.