BUSINESS

Olympic Brewery invests 3.2 mln euros in Thessaloniki plant

DIMITRA MANIFAVA

TAGS: Business

Olympic Brewery has invested 3.2 million euros in its plant in Sindos, Thessaloniki, for a new production line of 20-liter PET beer kegs that prolong product freshness.

These single-use kegs allow beer to stay fresh for up to 31 days after being opened, instead of five, as is the case with the conventional metallic barrels used in bars and restaurants, for example.

The new unit, which produces the Mythos, Fix, Fix Dark and Kaiser brands, has a production capacity of 250,000 hectoliters a year and is expected to significantly boost Olympic Brewery’s domestic presence in the areas of catering and tourism in particular, while also raising export prospects over the coming years. Exports currently account for 5 percent of Olympic Brewery’s total turnover.

The Carlsberg subsidiary is planning overall investments at the Sindos plant of 4.6 million euros this year, with the company’s total investments in Greece over the 2015-2018 period (including in its other plant at Ritsona in Evia) estimated at 22 million euros. The investment plan for 2014-2019, meanwhile, comes to 45 million euros.

However, the Greek beer market continued to contract this year. According to data from market research firm IRI presented earlier this week by Managing Director Dejan Beko, even though beer sales at supermarkets slipped 1 percent in the January-August period, Olympic's share in volume rose 3.6 points over the same eight-month period. The company’s overall share in January-August in the beer category was 31.2 percent and in mixers (via its Tuborg soda water and flavored soda water) it was 36.2 percent, Beko said.

The managing director said that it is too soon to gauge any changes to the market prompted by the Competition Commission’s ruling earlier this year finding that Athenian Brewery, a Heineken subsidiary and Olympic’s main competitor in the domestic market, was in breach of competition rules and “abused its dominant position.”

The Commission fined the company a record 31.4 million euros, which was reduced to 26.7 million euros after Athenian Brewery appealed the decision.

“We respect the decisions of the Competition Commission and the court,” Beko said. “It is, however, way too early to assess whether this has brought any changes to the market.”

Online