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Wednesday, 14 March, 2001, 11:29 GMT
Interbrew losses after Bass charge
Assorted beer types
"The world's local brewer" grew fast by buying brewers
Interbrew, the Belgian company that makes Stella Artois and many other beers, suffered a net loss of 910m euros ($829m, 573m) as the costs involved in its takeover of Bass Brewers pushed it into the red.

Stella Artois boxes of beer
The brewer that makes Stella Artois saw turnover double in 2000
Interbrew paid 2.3bn for Bass during summer 2000, then just over half a year later the UK government ordered it to sell it again for competition reasons.

Some analysts have predicted that Interbrew, which competes with Heineken for the number two spot among the world's major breweries, will lose 600m when it sells Bass.

Buying Bass may end up costing a whopping 1.23bn (770m) euros, the amount set aside by the Belgian company against its 2000 result.

Intervention challenged

The Belgium government has said it will challenge the UK government's intervention in the European Court of Justice.

Interbrew: A brief history
Formed in 1987, but traces origins to 1366
14 June 2000
Bass Breweries bought
2 December 2000
Floated on the stock market
3 January 2001
Bass takeover blocked
26 January 2001
Bass intervention contested
26 February 2001
Belgium says it will challenge the UK intervention in the European courts
And a judicial review sought by Interbrew is ongoing.

This review may delay the disposal and open up for a more profitable sale of the company in parts, said Fortis analyst Darrell Duthie and ING Barings analyst Gerard Rijk.

But the prediction that Interbrew will sell Bass by June 30 to one of a handful of suitors, probably South African Breweries, remains the most likely outcome, said analysts.

Profits before one-off charges

Interbrew made net profits worth 312 when exceptional one-off expenses are left out of the equation; up from 230.3m euros in 1999.

This rise in profits was much smaller than its rise in turnover which almost doubled from 4,35bn euros to just less than 8bn euros, mainly on the back of several high profile take-overs of other breweries, but also due to internal growth of 5.6%.

Turnover without the Bass operations in the UK was less than 5bn euros.

The results were the first published since the company's stock market listing in December 2000.

Interbrew's share price fell in early trading following their publication, down 1.38% by 9.30 GMT, even though the figures were in line with analysts' predictions.

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See also:

21 Feb 01 | Business
Belgium to sue UK over spilt beer
26 Jan 01 | Business
Interbrew challenges Bass ruling
05 Jan 01 | Business
Belgians bitter at Interbrew snub
04 Jan 01 | Business
Belgium slams blocking of Bass deal
03 Jan 01 | Business
Bass takeover blocked
03 Jan 01 | Business
What now for Bass beer brands?
03 Dec 00 | Business
Byers 'to force Carling sale'
01 Dec 00 | Business
Interbrew shares rise on debut
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