Carlsberg ‘may sell joint venture stake’

Carlsberg is likely to sell part of its 50 per cent stake in the Carlsberg-Tetley joint brewing venture and keep a minority share, according to stockbrokers James Capel.

Analyst Julie Crampton says the most likely scenario is that either Whitbread or Bass will buy Allied Domecq’s 50 per cent share of Carlsberg-Tetley, plus a substantial part of Carlsberg’s share.

It was previously thought that only Domecq’s share was up for sale. In a note published by Capel, Crampton says: “It is unlikely another UK brewer would wish to simply step into Domecq’s shoes and buy half of Carlsberg-Tetley in view of its track record of declining profits.”

But she adds: “We believe the most probable scenario… is that Carlsberg will sell part of its 50 per cent stake and keep a minority stake in an enlarged group.”

This would have the advantage of “economies of scale and opportunities for rationalisation”, and it would improve competitiveness and profits to enable Carlsberg to “participate in increased profitability from consolidation in the UK brewing industry”, according to the Capel note.

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