Finnish brewer Olvi has acquired a majority stake in Belarusian brewery Lidskoe Pivo.

Olvi confirmed late last week that it paid US$16m for the 51% stake in the privately-held company. The remaining 49% holding is "distributed evenly" among personnel at Lidskoe Pivo.

Since being privatised in 1993, Lidskoe Pivo's operations have been profitable every year, Olvi noted. Last year, net sales totalled US$30.5m at 70m litres of annual production volume. Beer accounted for 43m litres of total production, with the remaining 26m litres consisting of soft drinks, mineral waters and kvass, a Russian-style low-alcoholic beer.

"The Lidskoe Pivo brewery is in a good technical and financial condition, and its products are of good quality," the Finnish company said. "The greatest needs for investments are in logistics and sales. Production capacity will be increased."

Olvi, which operates in Finland and the three Baltic states, controls the A. Le Coq, Cesu Alus and AB Ragutis subsidiaries.