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SUVA, Fiji Islands (June 11, 1999 - PACNEWS/Daily Post)---Fiji’s Carlton Brewery, Ltd. is interested in buying a 51 percent share of Samoa Breweries, Ltd.

Carlton chief executive Hugh Ragg said if the bid is accepted Carlton Brewery. Ltd. would become the major shareholder of the Samoa company, which brews Vailima beer and distributes the American soft drink, Coca-Cola.

"Because of our location and as member of the South Pacific Forum countries we would like to invest with neighbors like Samoa," Ragg said.

The Samoa Government currently is undergoing major economic reform, privatizing most of its statutory bodies. Selling off a 51 percent share of its brewery's controlling shares is just one of its many privatization strategies.

Of the 66 percent share held by the Samoan Government, 51 percent is to be sold to a successful bidder.

A decision on who will win the bid will be announced on July 9.

"Should we be successful, we will aim to explore other products, particularly spirits.

"We will also encourage an exchange of staff so that they will be able to learn from each other," he said.

Following European preferences, the alcohol content of Vailima beer is slightly higher than Fiji Bitter.

Vailima contains an alcoholic content of 4.9 percent.

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