The Belgian brewer Interbrew is to seek a buyer for its manufacturing facilities at Bass Ireland's Ulster brewery in Belfast. This decision follows the loss of contract bottling volume at the brewery.

A successful sale would include a long-term supply contract with Interbrew UK to brew and package beer for the markets in Ireland.

The sale process has now commenced and will be concluded by September 2004.

However, if a viable future cannot be secured for these manufacturing facilities, they will be closed in early 2005, the company said.