Turkish beverage firm Anadolu Efes has refused to comment on a report that it is eyeing foreign acquisitions in beer and soft drinks.

Chief executive of Anadolu Group, Tuncay Ozilhan, was reported by Reuters on Friday (10 April) as saying that the company is targeting new countries in the beverage sector and will "evaluate" acquisition opportunities "abroad".

A spokesperson for Anadolu declined to comment on acquisition targets when contacted by just-drinks today (15 April).

The company, which controls Efes Breweries International and Coca Cola Icecek, has brewing operations in countries such as Russia, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Moldova and Serbia.

Separately, industry sources have told just-drinks that Anadolu has shown interest in Anheuser-Busch InBev's Russian subsidiary, Sun InBev.

One analyst said that consolidation in Russia is likely as the brewers, such as Efes, Sun InBev and SABMiller, look to compete more effectively against Carlsberg-owned Baltika, which has around a 37% market share.

But, A-B InBev's progress on cost savings means that it is not under intense pressure to sell, and the global financial situation may dissuade potential buyers for the time being, the analyst said.

On Monday, Anadolu Efes posted a 17% slide in full-year net profit for 2008.
Net profit last year dipped by 17% on 2007, coming in at TRY309.7m (US$193.4m), although sales climbed by 21% to TRY3.67bn. In volume terms, sales rose by 9.2% to 37.8m hectolitres.

Operating profit struggled in the year, falling to TRY288.7m from TRY390.1m in 2007.
In the Reuters interview, Ozilhan said he expected commodity prices to fall in 2009, helping a recovery in profit margins without raising prices.