The German brewer Holsten, which is subject to a takeover bid from Carlsberg, saw its sales volumes fall 10% in 2003, to 12.9m hectolitres. 

By value, Holsten sales fell to €752m (US$943m) in the period.

The company is blaming the fall in sales on the compulsory can deposit, which was introduced in January 2003. 

Domestic sales were down 12.8%, compared to 2002, to 7.55m hl. Meanwhile, exports fell by 7.9% to 1.0m hl, although the volume of sales abroad, including licensed products, rose to 1.6m hl from 1.56m hl a year ago.