We did a good job at sticking to our own strategy and not getting drawn into anything nasty.
Bromsgrove, UK (PRWEB) July 10, 2008
Earlier this month, Olly Wehring, managing editor of just-drinks.com, exclusively interviewed Carlsberg's CEO, Jørgen Buhl Rasmussen about how they fit into the Indian beer market. The Danish brewer's CEO said that Carlsberg was looking at India in the same way it looked at Russia in recent years.
"India to me is a bit like testing the waters," Rasmussen said. "We're starting in India the way we did with (Eastern European unit) Baltic Beverages Holding many years back."
Carlsberg only acquired its first brewery in India just over a year ago. In May last year, the brewer bought a ten-year-old facility in the state of Himachal Pradesh, north of the capital New Delhi. The transaction marked Carlsberg's first brewery in the country, through its joint venture South Asia Breweries.
Currently the top spot in the Indian beer market is held by United Breweries in which Heineken controls a 37.5% stake, followed by SABMiller which owns 11 breweries in the country and accounts for around 31% market share.
When asked how Carlsberg sees its competitor's presence within this growing market Rasmussen said: "It may be a concern that the other global brewers are a little ahead of us in India,". "But even if we have strong competition, this market could be a big opportunity - there are just so many people there, and consumption can only grow." Rasmussen continued.
With this rare opportunity to speak to Rasmussen, just-drinks had to ask about the battle to buy Scottish & Newcastle, which Carlsberg completed along with Heineken earlier this year. "It was a tough and long process," he told just-drinks." We were not surprised that it became a little emotional. Some of the language was a little stronger than we anticipated. They played their game, and they played it very well. Our game was all about being very disciplined, and not getting involved in arguments through the media.
"We did a good job at sticking to our own strategy and not getting drawn into anything nasty."
When asked what he'd do if he had to go through the process again, Rasmussen said: "The one thing I regret was that we had to confirm that we were looking at Scottish & Newcastle. I would have preferred to go to Sir Brian Stewart and John Dunsmore and talked to them face to face before it came out in the media. But then again, we're still on good terms - I still talk to both Sir Brian and John."
The full interview is available for full members of just-drinks at http://www.just-drinks.com/carlsberginterview. For non-members access to the interview and other articles can be obtained by signing up for a free trial of just-drinks at http://www.just-drinks.com/membership.
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