InBev's strategic partnership with Gabriel Sedlmayr Spaten-Franziskaner Bräu KGaA (Spaten), which combines Spaten's beer business with Interbrew Deutschland, was closed on Friday.

All brewery operations of the Spaten-Franziskaner-Löwenbräu-Group (Munich) are now part of Interbrew Deutschland. 

The acquisition of the Dinkelacker-Schwaben Bräu (Stuttgart) and Mauritius (Zwickau) breweries is expected to close on October 4, 2004., InBev added.

The partnership with Spaten makes InBev's affiliate, Interbrew Deutschland, the number two brewer in Germany's domestic market, with an 11% market share.

"This strategic partnership strengthens Interbrew Deutschland's geographic presence in all the important segments of the German beer market. Based on total sales, including export volumes of Beck's, among others, Interbrew Deutschland is now the number one German brewer," a company statement said.

"We are delighted to have achieved the closing of this partnership within the timeframe we predicted," said InBev's CEO, John Brock. "Spaten not only gives us a strong position in southern Germany, it also adds some very attractive brands with great international potential to our portfolio. Going forward, Germany remains very much in our strategic focus."

Headquartered in Munich and tracing its origins back to 1363, Spaten is the leading brewer in Bavaria; Dinkelacker-Schwaben Bräu AG (Dinkelacker) in Stuttgart is a leading brewer in Baden-Württemberg.

Spaten's and Dinkelacker's brands are leaders in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, with market shares of 7% and 10%, respectively, within the off-trade channel. Franziskaner® and Löwenbräu® have a national presence and significant international potential.

The combination with Spaten means that Interbrew Deutschland now has a leading representation in the six key segments of the German beer market: national premium lagers, national specialties, national core lagers, regional core lagers, regional specialties, and beer-mix.