17 March 2004

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Farsons continues investment spree

By Kurt Sansone

Farsons will invest millions in a new brew house and enhanced soft drink production facilities in the coming months to strengthen its core brewing and bottling business.
Farsons Chairman Louis Farrugia said details of the multi-million investment will be announced in the weeks to come. He was speaking at a press conference during which Farsons unveiled its latest venture, the bottling of premier beer brand Budweiser in Malta.
The bottling and distribution agreement signed with the world’s largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch spans for five years and limits distribution to the domestic market.

However, Farsons will be ready to expand distribution of Malta-bottled Budweiser to overseas markets if and when the opportunity arises, Farrugia said.
The bottling process follows a plant development investment of more than Lm1 million undertaken by Farsons over the past year.
Farrugia explained that Farsons had to undergo a series of strict quality assurance tests before being approved by Anheuser-Busch as a bottler. The agreement makes Farsons one of the very few bottlers world-wide to be given the go ahead by Anheuser-Busch.
UK-brewed Budweiser will be shipped to Malta in temperature-controlled tankers and transferred into the Farsons beer storage tanks upon arrival at the Mriehel brewery.
It will be replacing the bottled Budweiser currently on the market, which is imported by Farsons subsidiary, Wands. Canned Budweiser will still be imported.
“Bottling Budweiser will be adding value to the economy because it will be substituting imports at a time when levies will be removed,” Farrugia said.
However, the glass bottles used for bottling will not be collected and re-used like other beer brands brewed and bottled by Farsons. “The bottles are one-way, even if they are recyclable,” Farrugia said when asked by The Malta Financial and Business Times.
The press conference was also addressed by the vice president and managing director of Anheuser-Busch Europe, Andrew J. Day and production director and brewmaster of Anheuser-Busch Europe, Alan Henderson.
The Budweiser initiative is the third major investment Farsons has made in the space of five months. In November, Farsons took over wholesaler and importer Guido Vella Cash ‘n’ Carry. This was followed by last week’s announcement that Farsons would also be taking over food importer Law. Quintano.

kurt@newsworksltd.com



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