Carlsberg Breweries A/S has appointed new management boards for both its recently acquired breweries in Bulgaria - Shumensko Pivo and Pirinsko Pivo.

Alexander Grancharov is chairman of the management boards and chief executive officer for the two companies with effect from March 1.

Robert Schelde will serve as chief financial officer for both companies.

Hristo Hristov will be the third member of the Shumensko management board, while Peter Alexandrov will serve on the Pirinsko management board.

Alexander Grancharov had worked for Coca-Cola since 1993, and has been country manager for Bulgaria for the past three years. Robert Schelde comes in following a stint as chief financial officer for Carlsberg Breweries' two breweries in Lithuania. Both Hristo Hristov and Peter Alexandrov are already members of the management boards of their respective breweries.

The new management is a result of Carlsberg Breweries' acquisition of the two companies in 2002.

A joint management team consisting of a chief executive officer, marketing director, chief production officer, sales and logistics director, and a chief financial officer is now in place for both breweries, the company said in a statement.

"Quality and the clear positioning of the brands are the two focus areas for Bulgaria," said Alexander Grancharov. "Beer quality has already improved following investments in production. Further investments will continue to increase product quality and build the Shumensko and Pirinsko brands. Later, Tuborg and then Carlsberg will be locally produced for the Bulgarian market.

"We are producers of top-quality beer and will not be competing on price in the market," Grancharov added.

Although the market is in a slump, he expects the market for quality beer to improve. "It is a question of letting our customers know that by paying a slightly higher price you get a much higher quality beer. "

Carlsberg Breweries A/S entered an agreement in August 2002 to buy 67% of the Bulgarian brewery Pirinsko Pivo. During a recent public tender offer, Carlsberg Breweries agreed to buy more shares and now has more than 98% of the shares in the company.

Pirinsko Pivo, which is situated in Blagoevgrad, 100 km south of the capital Sofia, has a market share of 12% of the 4.5 million hectolitre total market.

At the end of June 2002, Carlsberg Breweries bought 59% of the Bulgarian brewery Shumensko Pivo. Mr Fikret Ince and other minority shareholders own the remaining shares.

Shumensko, based in the town Shumen close to the Black Sea coast, has an 8% market share.