The Danish brewer Carlsberg Breweries is set to acquire the Serbian brewer brewery Pivara Celarevo, in a deal that values it at €53m.

At a general assembly held yesterday, the shareholders of Pivara Celarevo agreed to a direct placing of shares, which will provide Carlsberg with 51% of its shares.

Subsequently, Carlsberg Breweries must make a public tender for the remaining 49% of the shares in Pivara Celarevo.

The price per share is €43.12, which gives a total price of the entire share capital of €53m.

The transaction is subject to a due diligence process which starts immediately and to approval by authorities.

The share capital is owned by approximately 1,200 shareholders, primarily private individuals out of whom around 75% are employed by Pivara Celarevo, which is the third largest brewery in Serbia.

The brewery is situated in the town of Celarevo in the Vojvodina province about 130 kilometres north of the capital Beograd and its only brand Lav is the second strongest standard brand in the country. The brewery has a capacity of 1.3 million hl beer. In 2002, Pivara Celarevo had a turnover of €23m, an operating profit (based on local accounting principles) of €5.6m and sold 780,000 hl beer, corresponding to a market share of approximately 15%.

"The acquisition of Pivara Celarevo strengthens our position in the Balkans where we already have breweries in Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania", said President and CEO of Carlsberg Breweries Nils S. Andersen.

In 2002, the total Serbian beer consumption amounted to 5m hl and with a population of around 10m, the annual per capita consumption was close to 50 litres.