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Carlsberg to up India investments

September 13, 2007 11:44 IST
Danish beer giant Carlsberg is looking at increasing investments in manufacturing and distribution in India.

The company has indicated, in an application to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) that it plans to increase its downstream investments in manufacturing and trading in the country.

The company also launched its first product, Okocim Palone, a dark beer, here. The brand has been launched through the Him Neel brewery in Himachal Pradesh, which the company acquired in May.

Jesper B Madsen, senior vice-president, Carlsberg Asia, said, "Carlsberg is committed to increase investments in India. The company is currently evaluating which products are most suitable for the Indian market."

He added that the Carlsberg brand would also be a part of Carlsberg's portfolio in India.

Madsen added that Carlsberg has no intention of increasing its stake in Indian joint venture, South Asia Breweries, which is 45 per cent at present.

South Asia Breweries has begun work on Carlsberg's greenfield brewery in Rajasthan.

The 4,50,000 hectolitres (hl) capacity brewery will be operational by end of the first quarter of 2008. This brewery could serve as an export base for Carlsberg to serve its market outside India, company executives said.

Referring to pricing, Madsen said, "Carlsberg plans to have a brand portfolio in the India market, at pricing consistent with the segment in which the brands are positioned."

Other global players operating in the domestic beer market include Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser, SABMiller's Fosters, Asia-Pacific Breweries' Tiger, Molson Coors's Coors and InBev's Stella Artois.

According to research by the company, the annual beer consumption per person in India is among the lowest in Asia and the company sees significant potential here.

The total beer market in India is 8 million hl, which makes it among the top three Asian markets in terms of potential growth.

In 2005, the beer consumption in Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh was 1.7 million hl for a population of 250 million.

Ruchita Saxena in Mumbai