Hansa Borg Bryggerier wants to lead a consolidation process in Norway's fragmented brewing industry, according to CEO Lars Midtgaard.

The brewer wants to hold talks with Norway's small and medium regional brewers on strengthening their operations via mergers, Midtgaard said.

Mitgaard said that the offer of discussions is open to regional brewers like Macks Bryggeri, Aass and Grans, who have strong local beer brands.

"We want to play a leading consolidating role. Some regional brewers are struggling in Norway," Mitgaard said. "The dominating presence of Ringnes brewery is causing problems for Norway's regional breweries. They are looking at tougher price competition, falling volumes and thinner profits."

Consolidation will happen, said Midtgaard. "It must happen. Hansa Borg may not become as big as Ringnes, but we can grow through mergers to a size and scale that is more price competitive and profitable," he said.

Macks had revenues of EUR37m (US$49.3m) in 2006, while Grans generated turnover of EUR20m, and Aass EUR28m. By contrast, Hansa Borg's revenues amounted to EUR122m.