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Last Updated: Friday, 30 April, 2004, 14:13 GMT 15:13 UK
Interbrew 'needs fewer breweries'
Beck's brewery in Bremen
Beck's is one of Interbrew's few global brands
Interbrew, the world's biggest beer producer, can make do with far fewer than its current 75 breweries, its chief executive has said.

"We have to get a more integrated business that is far more cost-effective than it is today," John Brock told a business lunch.

Mr Brock wants Interbrew to reap better profit margins than Anheuser-Busch, the other giant in the market.

Interbrew recently overtook the US firm in size after a Brazilian acquisition.

Think global, act local

Mr Brock said he had not yet decided which breweries would have to close and added that all options were still open.

John Brock
Mr Brock is not yet sure where the axe will fall
Interbrew has more than 200 beer brands, brewed in 21 countries.

Although the beer market remains regional and fragmented, Interbrew has succeeded in promoting a number of global brands - notably Belgian Stella Artois and German Beck's.

At the same time, retaining the integrity of local brands, such as Hungary's Borsodi Sor and German Diebels, remains key to Interbrew's strategy.

This localisation, analysts say, makes consolidating brewing operations tricky.

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