Carlsberg sells stake in Malawi brewery

Danish brewer, Carlsberg A/S, the fourth largest beer company in the world, behind Heineken, said on Wednesday it had sold its 59% stake in Carlsberg Malawi Brewery Limited (CMBL) to french beverage company, Castel Group.

The terms of the sale were not disclosed except that Carlsberg has signed a license agreement with Castel allowing it to continue to produce Carlsberg Lager in Malawi. Carlsberg Malawi Brewery Limited (CMBL) is one of the oldest breweries in Malawi and opened in 1968. It is also the first Carlsberg brewery outside Denmark.

The brewer said the sale was in line with its strategy to become much smaller and focus on its core businesses.

“In line with Carlsberg Group’s new strategy, we have evaluated all businesses in order to focus our efforts against a narrower and more precisely-defined set of priorities,” said Graham Fewkes, executive vice president of Asia.

Carlsberg has been hit by declining sales in eastern Europe and Russia following the fall in the value of the rouble, which came in the wake of a decline in global oil prices.

Earlier this year, Carlsberg set-out a new strategy to turn around its business for growth. The new strategy include a complete revamp of its Russian business, a focus on premium brands in large cities and an expansion of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and craft beers.

The company hopes that the new initiatives would yield net benefits of 1.5 billion to 2 billion Danish kroner ($225m – $300m) by 2018.

The sale is pending regulatory and corporate approval, the company said.

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