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FINLAND: Heineken refutes Hartwall sale report

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Heineken has denied it is ready to offload its Finnish unit Hartwall after a report claimed it has launched a sale.

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A spokesperson for the Dutch brewer told just-drinks today (12 April) the company is still considering its options over Hartwall, which was put under a “strategic review” in February.

The spokesperson said: “It is not a burning platform so it is a question of what is the right thing going forward. When we have a clear idea of the situation then we will make an announcement.”

Reuters today cited three unnamed sources as saying Heineken has sent information to potential buyers and asked for “indicative bids” in late April. It said the Helsinki-based brewery could fetch up to EUR500m (US$652.3m) from private equity firms.

Asked if the Reuters report was inaccurate, the Heineken spokesperson said: “It looks as though someone is just looking at one option rather than thinking in multiple options.”

The spokesperson added that Heineken's position on Hartwall has not changed since February and that he did not know when the review will conclude.

“We are not in a different place to where we were when we made our statement a couple of months ago,” the spokesperson said.

Heineken initially dismissed reports it was looking to sell Hartwall, saying on 4 February it wouldn't respond to “rumour and speculation”. Later the same day, it confirmed the strategic review and said is was considering Hartwall's future “within or outside” of Heineken.


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