Norwegian regional brewer Aass Bryggeri has dismissed suggestions it could bunk up with Hansa Borg.

The company said yesterday (12 June) that it would prefer to concentrate on growing its brewing business in the country through strategic alliances with Mack Bryggeri and Grans.

"Our operating margin is 1% and life is tough for regional breweries in Norway as they try to compete with the market's biggest breweries," said Aass Bryggeri's CEO Terje Aass. "We know Hansa Borg is interested in acquiring regional breweries like Aass, but we are not interested in selling.

"To do so would be the end of Aass Bryggeri as we know it today and our brands."

The co-operation with Mack could cover product development, marketing and distribution, Aass added. "We know that Mack do not want to sell any shares, so any future cooperation would have to be in marketing and distribution."

Earlier this year, Hansa Borg said it hoped to lead a consolidation process in the country's fragmented brewing industry. The company said it wants to hold talks with Norway's small and medium regional brewers on strengthening their operations via mergers.