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Bulgaria Oldest Brewery Sells Malt Production to French Co

The French company Malteries Soufflet is acquiring the malt production of Bulgaria's oldest commercial brewery "Kamenitza."

Kamenitza announced Monday they were selling their malt factory in the northern city of Pleven and renting long-term the facility in the southern city of Haskovo to the French business.

The decision is motivated by "the goal of steady growth," and is based on a "strategic assessment of the operations of the Bulgarian company."

The buyer, Malteries Soufflet is part Soufflet Group, and is the second largest malt producer in the world and leader on the Old Continent. Without the latest acquisition – Kamenitza, the company had 21 malt factories in 9 countries.

Part of the deal with the Bulgarian brewery includes the agreement that all 38 employees at the two malt factories are to keep their jobs. In addition, Kamenitza is to sign a long-term contract with Malteries Soufflet for the purchase of malt for its breweries in Plovdiv and Haskovo.

"Malt production had never been a priority activity for our company. The strategic deal with Soufflet Group will allow us to focus our resources and potential on beer production, marketing, and sales," the Bulgarian Dnevnik daily writes, citing representatives of Kamenitza's management.

The annual production capacity of the factories of Malteries Souffler is over 1.8 million tons. Soufflet group is the largest private company in France for the purchase of grain and has a capacity of 3.668 million of tons in France and over 1 million tons globally. The company is specialized in grain processing. It owns 38 factories in France and across Europe. Its sales for 2009 amount to EUR 3 B.

Bulgaria's oldest commercial brewery Kamenitza was established in Plovdiv by the Swiss Germans Rudolf Frick and Friedrich Sulzer in 1876.

It became a large and modern factory in 1879/1881 with the help of another Swiss expert, Christian August Bomanti.

Production began in 1882 in the Kamenitza area near the city and continues today, its successor being the Kamenitza brewery.

Kamenitza AD, which was until last year part of Interbrew, renamed InBev after the merger of Interbrew and AmBev, is the second biggest brewery in Bulgaria. It has 780 employees.

Its diverse brand portfolio includes international Stella Artois, Staropramen and Becks and local Kamenitza, AstikA, Burgasko, Pleven, Slavena.

Anheuser-Busch InBev sold its operations in seven countries in Central Europe and the Balkans, including Bulgaria, to private-equity firm CVC Capital Partners in December 2009.

29 Aug. 2011

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