Heineken N.V. ('HEINEKEN') announced today that it has signed a binding agreement with Danish Royal Unibrew A/S ('Royal Unibrew') for the sale of its Finnish multi-beverage business Oy Hartwall Ab ('Hartwall'). The total enterprise value¹ of the transaction amounts to c. €470 million. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2013 at the latest and is subject to customary closing conditions, including anti-trust approvals.
HEINEKEN and Royal Unibrew have also agreed on the principles of extending their existing partnership to the effect that, for the next ten years, Royal Unibrew will obtain a license to brew Heineken® beer for Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. At the moment Royal Unibrew already brews the Heineken® brand in Denmark and distributes the brand in the Baltic countries. In addition, Hartwall will remain the exclusive distributor of HEINEKEN's global and international brands in Finland, including Sol, Strongbow, Newcastle Brown Ale, Krušovice and Murphy's Irish Stout, and will continue to brew Foster's beer under license in the country.
Jean-François van Boxmeer, Chairman of the Executive Board/CEO of Heineken N.V. commented: "We are pleased to announce this transaction, as we are convinced that Hartwall's future development is best served as part of Royal Unibrew, our long-time business partner in Denmark and an important beverage company in the Nordics and Baltics region. We look forward to building on our business in the region working together with Royal Unibrew."
Henrik Brandt, CEO of Royal Unibrew, added: "We really value Hartwall's market position, strong brands and considerable innovation, and the acquisition of Hartwall supports Royal Unibrew's strategy very well. Hartwall and the Finnish market are in many ways similar to our Danish operations, and we are confident that, as a long-term focused owner and in close partnership with the company's management and employees, we will be able to increase Hartwall's commercial and operational strength and thus improve earnings."
HEINEKEN will utilise the proceeds of the Hartwall divestiture to reduce its financial leverage, whereby the company is targeting a Net Debt/EBITDA (beia) ratio of below 2.5 times by the end of 2014, as previously communicated.
As from the end of June, Hartwall is recorded as an asset held for sale and as such no longer included in HEINEKEN's financial results. HEINEKEN acquired Hartwall as part of the Scottish & Newcastle transaction in 2008.