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.
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Copyright July 2001, Crain Communications Inc.