DENMARK: Carlsberg clarifies consolidation speculation
Carlsberg has warned of the potential dangers it faces should it look to buy Scottish & Newcastle out of its joint venture in Eastern Europe.
The Danish brewer announced late last week that it was looking to reduce the holding of The Carlsberg Foundation in the company, with a view to creating up to US$8bn in capital. Speaking to just-drinks today (1 May), a spokesperson for Carlsberg said: "Read my lips - we have no concrete plans to acquire or merge with anyone at this time.
"We live in a business world where consolidation happens every week and every month. We need to have capital preparedness, it's too late to wait until the day you want to buy something to make such a move."
"If we were to bid for S&N's stake in BBH and they were to say no," the spokesperson said, "then we would be obliged to sell our stake to them at the same price.
"The risk is, if you put an offer in that is too low, then they would be able to buy our stake very cheaply. The alternative is to put in a bid that is very expensive for what you are buying."
The clause is present as "a means to stabilise a joint-venture," he said. "This way, you avoid a bid every second month."
When asked what would happen to the venture should S&N be bought by an outside company, the spokesperson said: "It's not obvious what would happen to the J-V if we were to get another partner."
Carlsberg is scheduled to release its Q1 results next week.
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