Carlsberg A/S has reached an agreement with Feldschlösschen-Hürlimann Holding AG to acquire the entire Feldschlösschen Beverages Division. Carlsberg will acquire the beer, soft drinks and mineral water production and distribution businesses as well as wine distribution activities of the Beverages Division, in a transaction valued in aggregate at CHF 870 million. Carlsberg intends to introduce and brew the Carlsberg brand as a new premium beer to the Swiss market, to strengthen the Feldschlösschen beverages group through investments, to establish a centre of excellence for the non-alcoholic beers of the Carlsberg Group in Rheinfelden, and in the medium term to use Switzerland as a bridge into new markets. Feldschlösschen Beverages Holding AG, based in Rheinfelden, will continue to be led by a Swiss Management team, with Erwin Flückiger as CEO.

The beverages businesses integrated in Feldschlösschen Beverages Holding AG employs approximately 2,600 people at eight production sites for beer, soft drinks and mineral waters, a wine distributor, 27 beverage distribution centres, as well as additional services and export companies. Following yesterday evening's signing, the transaction is expected to close in the next few weeks. The transaction will be retroactively effective as at 1 July 2000. The Board does not expect any delay due to regulatory reasons.

Strengthening Feldschlösschen Beverages' market position
Carlsberg intends to invest in Switzerland's leading beverages group, thereby strengthening its market position. Feldschlösschen and Cardinal will remain the two leading brands in the Swiss beer market, and will see their marketing activities reinforced. Regional brands will also be supported as long as consumer demand meets sufficient levels. Carlsberg has also agreed to introduce the Carlsberg brand to the Swiss market and to brew it in Switzerland as a new premium beer.

Following Feldschlösschen's know-how and success in non-alcoholic beers - it exports today 10% of its production in the form of the non-alcoholic brand "Moussy" - Carlsberg intends to establish a centre of excellence at the Feldschlösschen Brewery in Rheinfelden for all the non-alcoholic beers of the Carlsberg group.

Not included in the purchase agreement is the company Emil Nüesch AG Wine Cellars in Balgach SG, a subsidiary of Passugger Heilquellen AG. Feldschlösschen-Hürlimann Holding AG is seeking a separate owner for this company with 44 employees and a 1998/99 turnover of CHF 13 million. On the other hand, DiVino AG, the substantially larger wine distribution company within the Feldschlösschen Beverages Division - which accounts for approximately 10% of the Beverages Division's turnover - will remain within Feldschlösschen Beverages Holding AG.

Contracts to be taken over
For the remaining 2,600 employees, as well as for the company's customers in the restaurant and retail sectors, its distributors and consumers, the switch from one owner to another will not lead to any changes: The same brands of beer and non-alcoholic beverages will continue to be produced by the present workforce at the same production sites, at the same high level of quality, and will be sold and delivered to customers from the same distribution centres. Carlsberg has agreed to assume all contractual obligations of Feldschlösschen Beverages Holding AG as to customers, employees, legal authorities, suppliers, licensing partners and sponsorship partners.

Swiss management
Feldschlösschen Beverages Holding AG will continue to be managed by a Swiss management team under the leadership of Erwin Flückiger, who is to be named CEO after closing of the transaction. Erwin Flückiger, currently Finance Director of Feldschlösschen-Hürlimann Holding AG, has already managed the company on an interim basis from August 1999 to March 2000. The present CEO, Christof A. Zuber, will remain the CEO of Feldschlösschen-Hürlimann Holding AG until further notice.

A new Board of Directors will be elected shortly by Carlsberg. Carlsberg will retain the company name Feldschlösschen Beverages Holding AG for its new Swiss business, with its headquarters remaining in Rheinfelden.

A win-win situation
"Carlsberg is the ideal owner of our beverages business," stated Robert A. Jeker, Chairman of the Board of Feldschlösschen-Hürlimann Holding AG. "Of all the interested parties, Carlsberg offered the most convincing concept. Carlsberg is successfully established in the global beverages industry with a special focus on the beer market. Carlsberg's intention is to invest in the market-leading beverages business in Switzerland." In addition, Carlsberg is taking over the company's mineral water business, which otherwise would have had to be sold separately. "Carlsberg's step to assume responsibility for the Feldschlösschen beverages group secures a promising outlook for the beverages sector, for the company, its employees and its consumers," said Robert A. Jeker.

"We are proud to welcome Feldschlösschen Beverages Holding into the Carlsberg family," said Nils S. Andersen, Group Managing Director of the Carlsberg A/S. "The Group has a lot of potential, both in production and distribution, which we look forward to developing together." Nils S. Andersen then emphasised that under a new owner, Feldschlösschen Beverages Holding AG will remain the largest employer in the beverages sector in Switzerland.

With the Swiss acquisition, Carlsberg, one of the leading brewers worldwide, will be able to increase its beverage production volume by 5 percent, to more than 55 million hectolitres. Carlsberg's beer brands are available today in 140 countries around the world and are produced in 72 breweries located in 40 different countries. Carlsberg today employs 22,000 employees worldwide.

Purchase price of CHF 870 million
Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) advised Feldschlösschen-Hürlimann Holding AG in connection with the sale of the Beverages business. Carlsberg will pay Feldschlösschen-Hürlimann Holding AG CHF 870 million for the enterprise value of the Beverages Division. The purchase price meets the expectations of the Board of Directors of Feldschlösschen-Hürlimann Holding AG.

Proceeds from the transaction will be used to pay down debt, to invest in the development of the real estate business, and to return excess capital to shareholders. The Board of Directors will communicate more precise information concerning the utilisation of the proceeds of the sale in a press conference to be held on 28 November.

REG Real Estate Group
On 22 May, the Annual General Meeting of the shareholders of Feldschlösschen-Hürlimann Holding AG mandated the Board of Directors to find a new owner for the Beverages Division. Following completion of the transaction, Hürlimann Immobilien Holding AG will remain within Feldschlösschen-Hürlimann Holding AG and will remain listed on the SWX Swiss Exchange under its new name, "REG Real Estate Group". The company will elect a small Board of Directors at the Annual General Meeting in the spring of 2001, comprising members with relevant experience in the real estate business. Further information about the business strategy of the real estate company, its organisational structure and the key personalities involved, will be given at the press conference on 28 November.