Brau und Brunnen, the German brewer, is on the acquisition trail. In an interview published in Die Welt today, chairman Michael Hollman said: "In the next six to eight weeks, we will make two to three acquisitions - that will really be big."

Brau und Brunnen, whose major shareholder, HVB bank, owns a 62% stake in the brewer, could still be brought into a partnership with another company in 2005 and remain independent, according to Hollman. HVB had spent most of last year planning to sell the brewer, but announced in December that it had pulled out of talks with US investment firm One Equity Partners.

Hollman goes on to say that the ideal major shareholder for the brewing arm is "an international brewer who is not yet really well-positioned in Germany like SAB, Scottish & Newcastle, Anheuser Busch, Ambev or Carlsberg." Hollman confirmed that there had been serious contacts with the companies he had named.

Hollman said that a decision could be made on selling Brau und Brunnen in the medium term, although HVB is under no pressure to sell, thereby giving the brewer time to optimise is own products.

Sales at Brau und Brunnen are expected to increase for the full year 2004 to 10m hectolitres of beer, from 8.2m in 2003, and to 6m hectolitres of water from 4.4m last year.