FRANCE: Heineken to invest, close brewery in France

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Heineken has unveiled a restructuring programme in France, which will result in the loss of almost 200 jobs in the country.

The brewer said today (30 May) that it is looking to "optimise efficiencies" in France, where it will also invest EUR124m (U$192.2m) over the next three years to upgrade three breweries - in Mons-en-Baroeul in the north of France, Schiltigheim in Alsace and Marseille.

Brasserie Fischer, also based in Schiltigheim, will close by the end of 2009 with the loss of 126 jobs, with production set to transfer to the l'Espérance brewery in the city. A further 62 jobs will be cut in Mons-en-Baroeul by the end of 2010.

The company said it will "collaborate with the trade unions to offer impacted staff a sound social support programme".

Heineken's Saint Omer brewery in the country, which handles the brewer's non-branded beer business, will be put up for sale as part of the reorganisation. Negotiations for the sale are already underway with its former owner and current chairman. Currrent jobs and activities would not be affected by the sale, Heineken said.

"This reorganisation represents our plan to optimise efficiencies in France," a Heineken spokesperson told just-drinks. "Following the divestment of our non-branded beer operations, we will further focus on the branded premium market in France, where there is greater opportunities for growth."

Following the closure and sale of the breweries, Heineken in France will own three breweries with a capacity of around 6m hectolitres.

The French beer market, which fell by 3.7% to 19.5m hectolitres in 2007, has been shrinking by about 3% per year for the last 20 years.

Sectors: Beer & cider

Companies: Heineken

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