Round-up: Danish brewer takes on big boys in Poland

Related tags Hypermarket Ahold

Danish brewer Bryggerigruppen has signed a deal to give it two new
breweries with strong local brands, while Russian food scientists
have designed a bread recipe that can be stored for three years and
Dutch retailer Ahold has sold its 13th Polish hypermarket to

Danish Brewer Bryggerigruppen has signed a deal worth $37.6 million to buy the main brewery-related assets of Polish firm Polskie Brok-Strzelec, giving it a 48 per cent share in the Polish brewer Perla-Browary Lubelskie.

The move, partly made through Bryggerigruppen's Polish subsidiary, Faxe Polska Sp, will hand the Danish firm two new breweries - in Koszalin and Krakow - with strong local brands within what is now Europe's fifth largest beer market.

Beer is easily the market leader in Poland's alcoholic drinks sector and has shown consistent growth over the last six years, with a consumption of 28 million hectolitres in 2003, up one million from the year before.

Polish brands remain a strong force on the market after years of domination thanks to high import duties pushing up the price of foreign beer. But, competition is strong with most of the major players, such as Heineken and SABMiller, staking their claims through domestic subsidiaries.

Russians baking space cakes

New opportunities to improve shelf-life may emerge after scientists at the Russian Research Institute of Baking announced they have developed a bread formula that can be stored for up to three years in preparation for a manned mission to Mars, according to Russian press reports.

The breakthrough was made by sterilising the bread recipe's ingredients at low temperatures. US space agency NASA was ordered to begin planning a manned mission to Mars by President Bush last year, though it may not materialise for 20 years or more.

Ahold switching focus in Poland

Dutch retailer Ahold has sold its thirteenth and final Hypernova Hypermarket in Poland to domestic firm Real sp. z o.o. i Spolka s.k, owned by French supermarket giant Carrefour.

"In Poland, we have decided to fully focus on the further development of the supermarket and compact hyper formats,"​ said Anders Moberg, Ahold president & CEO. A recent report by market research group PMR Publications​ suggested the blistering growth of large hypermarkets in Poland over the last decade may be coming to an end.

The report said most of the hypermarkets opened in the last two years had been compact stores, usually around 3,000 square metres, yet the group still predicted another 50 larger hypermarkets to be built by 2010.

Ahold has been selling off a number of its assets over the last year after widespread accounting fraud left it with a €1 billion hole in its accounts. The firm has already withdrawn completely from Asia and much of Latin America.

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