Heineken paid on Thursday EUR 119.5m for a 53.43% stake in beverage group Pivovarna Laško. Moreover, the Dutch buyer provided additional EUR 185m for the group to repay its debt.
Dušan Zorko, who will remain at the helm, told the press that “Laško no longer owes anything to anybody but Heineken”.
The core company, Pivovarna Laško, will get EUR 141m, while brewery Pivovarna Union, a subsidiary, is to get EUR 44m to repay its debt. Heineken will publish a takeover bid for the remaining shares in the next three days.
The sales price transfer was somewhat delayed this morning due to a police investigation at the Bank Asset Management Company, which got EUR 53.4m. EUR 16.3m went to the state-owned KAD fund, while Austrian Anadi Bank got EUR 15.6m and Abanka EUR 7.4m.
“We have a bright future ahead of us….not only for the brands but also for Slovenia, because this opens doors to foreign capital,” said Zorko.
He labelled Heineken as “the right, development-oriented owner”. It shares the same values, has successful brands, a long history, invests in development and takes responsibility for the environment, Zorko added.
The same position was echoed by Stefan Orlowski, the head of Heineken Europe, who described the merger as organic. He added that the deal was an important step for Heineken, the last puzzle as regards its presence in the region.
Orlowski said that Slovenia’s two biggest breweries, Laško and Union, had rich heritage and strong brands, which will complement well the portfolio of Heineken’s 250 brands.
Laško will merge with Heineken legally early next year, while Laško’s management board will be extended from four to seven members at an AGM on 12 November. Its first task will be to draw up a business plan for next year, according to Zorko.
The existing management that consists of Zorko, Mirjam Hočevar, Matej Oset and Marketa Zevnik, will expectedly be extended by Martin Hayes, Rumen Kolev and Sasha Makarenko, according to Zorko.