Young's eager to soak up Interbrew disposals

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The Independent Online

Young & Co, the London-based brewer, yesterday said it hoped to mop up ale assets from Belgium's Interbrew if the Competition Commission ruled that the maker of Stella Artois must make disposals following its £2.3bn purchase of Bass's brewing interests.

Young & Co, the London-based brewer, yesterday said it hoped to mop up ale assets from Belgium's Interbrew if the Competition Commission ruled that the maker of Stella Artois must make disposals following its £2.3bn purchase of Bass's brewing interests.

The commission is investigating the potential adverse effects of Interbrew's Bass acquisition, which came just weeks after the Belgium company paid £400m to swallow Whitbread's beer unit.

Patrick Read, Young's chief executive, would not say which particular brands he was interested in. The best-known brews in the Interbrew portfolio are Boddington's and Bass.

Young's unveiled its half-year results, which showed net profit down 3 per cent at £3.7m. The drop was the result of a £4.4m refurbishment programme and a reduction in income from the sale of properties. Group turnover increased 8.3 per cent to £48.7m in the six months ended 30 September. Mr Read declined to give details of current trading. But he said "The flooding hasn't helped. Certainly, the City has suffered."

Asked whether he would be interested in bidding for any of the pub assets currently being auctioned off by Whitbread, Bass and Scottish & Newcastle, Mr Read said Young's would not consider acquiring a complete package but would look at buying individual outlets. Last week, the group paid £5.8m for 17 pubs previously owned by Smiles Holdings. Young's non-voting shares closed up 17.5p at 475p yesterday.

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