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(July 24, 2001) DUESSELDORF -- The 67 private owners of Brauerei Beck & Co. have announced they plan to sell the brewery.

Dieter Ammer, chairman of the management board, said, "The fundamental issue for us is how can we best prepare Beck & Co. so that the brewery can compete in the international league of premium beers. ... We can imagine a significant increase in production with some of our international partners. The Beck's Group is strong and healthy."

Goldman Sachs is working with the brewery on the sale.

Front-runners include St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch Cos., Belgium's Interbrew, the U.K.'s Scottish & Newcastle brewery and South Africa Breweries, none of which are present in the German market.

Industry sources say Beck's dream partner would be Anheuser-Busch, allowing Beck's a greater exposure in the U.S. and fulfilling Anheuser-Busch's long-standing ambition to return to its founders' original market.

With sales of $790 million last year, more than 2.5 million hectoliters of beer was exported under the Beck's label, making it the country's leading beer export.

Advertising is handled by Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi, Frankfurt. -- Dagmar Mussey

Copyright July 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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