Royal Unibrew plans to launch a share buy-back programme.

The Danish brewer said yesterday (31 May), that it will launch a buy-back programme of up to 300,000 shares or DKK200m (US$36m) in an effort to optimise the group's capital structure.

The beer company said it aims to increase its interest-bearing debt to three times the size of EBITDA by the end of the year, compared to a two-to-one ratio at the end of 2006.

The buy-back programme will be effective between 1 June and 28 April next year.

Last month, Royal Unibrew said that pre-tax losses for the three months to 31 March totaled DKK59.1m against losses of DKK51.1m a year earlier. The rising losses, however, were described by the brewer as being "as expected". Sales for the quarter, meanwhile, were up by almost 9% to DKK704.6m from DKK648m in value terms, and up by 5% to 1.3m hectolitres from 1.2m in volume terms.