In a statement the Dutch brewer Heineken has said it has received the approval of the European Commission for the acquisition of BBAG, the leading Austrian brewery group and one of the largest brewery groups in Central Europe.

The transaction is still subject to several local customary regulatory approvals. However Heineken said it expects to receive the remaining approvals in the coming months and foresees that the transaction will be completed in October 2003.

Once the transaction is completed, Heineken will launch a public offer for the outstanding shares (the free float) of BBAG and its sub-holding Brau Union AG.

Heineken will make offers at prices of €124.00 per BBAG share and €127.27 per BU share, with such prices implying premiums for BBAG and BU free-float shareholders, based on trading prices as at 30 April 2003, of 34% and 45%, respectively. These offers will be made in accordance with the Austrian Takeover Act, the company said.