The Austrian brewing industry is set for a period of upheaval, with the larger national brewers primed as takeover targets.

A study by Contrast Management Consulting, has concluded that while regional brewers with strong brands are set to survive, larger national producers are takeover targets given there relatively small size by international standards.

The Austrian beer market has so far escaped the attentions of the consolidation movement sweeping the global beer industry. But, brewers such as Brau Union, Stiegl-Brauerei and Ottakringer Brauerei are now seen as acquisition targets in the medium term.

The report names Interbrew, South African Breweries and Heineken as potential suitors. All three already have a presence in Eastern Europe and therefore operate on Austria's doorstep already.

Brau Union, Austria's largest brewer, announced sales of 7.5 billion Austrian Schillings (ATS) for the year 2000, up from ATS7.4 billion in 1999. ($1=ATS14.65).