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Heineken Seals $400M Bravo Deal

Published: February 5, 2002 (Issue # 742)


Europe's biggest brewer, Dutch-based Heineken, announced on Friday that it had signed an agreement to acquire St. Petersburg's Bravo Holding for $400 million.

The purchase, which officials at Heineken said would help them move into a Russian market that still has room for growth, not only brings the European holding the popular local Bochkarev brand, but will also allow more market penetration for its own flagship label.

"With this acquisition, Heineken gains a foothold in the expanding beer market in Russia," a statement released by the firm said. "The transaction is valued at a maximum amount of $400 million, provided that volume and price targets are met in the next 12 months."

According to Manel Vrijenhoek, press officer at Heineken, the price is a reasonable one to pay for Bravo's facilities, brands and expertise.

"We think that it's a good price for a company that has shown such strong growth," she said in telephone interview on Monday. "The next few years will bring at least 6-percent annual growth, especially considering that there is room for growth on the beer market."

"And, as we already have such a strong position in Europe, the company's management decided to focus on markets in Russia, Asia and Latin America," she added. She also said that Heineken planned to launch a line producing its own beer here.

"Because Russia has very high import duties, the Heineken brand will have a competitive advantage in the Russian premium market when it is brewed inside the country itself," she said. "Basically, we are not planning to change Bravo's structure and strategy because we see no point in reorganizing a system that is working well. We will fill some positions in management, while the present team will likely stay."

Bravo International was set up in 1993 by two Icelandic businessmen, Thor Bjorgolfsson and Magnus Thorsteinsson. The local brewing facility, which began production in 1999, is the sixth-largest single-site brewery in Europe.

Although the brewery has only been in production for three years, Bravo has already acquired a 17-percent share of the St. Petersburg market and a 7-percent market share in Moscow, according to a Heineken statement. The company's highest-profile brands are Okhota and Bochkarev. The brewery also produces the Lowenbrau brand under license.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Tuesday, Jan. 27


Observe the 71st anniversary of the end of the Siege of Leningrad on Palace Square with a free concert at 7 p.m. Listen to WWII-era songs and the poetry of Olga Bergholz while you peruse outdoor exhibitions dedicated to life during wartime. The event is capped off by a fireworks display at 9 p.m.



Stop by the Lexica School of Foreign Languages at 73 Ligovsky Prospekt from now until Friday for a free English lesson. The classes start at 7 p.m. and cover all levels, from Beginner to Advanced. Registration by telephone on 7641692 and a desire to improve your skills are the only prerequisites.



Wednesday, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café — 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



Learn everything you always wanted to know about wine, and perhaps a bit more, at the Le Nez du Vin seminar for wine lovers. Held at the WineJet Sommelier School, 100 Bolshoy Prospekt Petrograd Side, at 7:30 p.m., the event will cover wine production, the basics of wine tasting, the concept of terroir and the various countries where wine is produced. Tickets are 750 rubles and include a wine tasting. Register by calling +7 921 744 6264.



Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekov's book will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.





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