These are agreements between breweries and custo mers whereby the latter receive a number of mostly financial facilities in exchange for the offtake of the prod ucts of the brewery concerned. The European Commis sion has concerned itself for some considerable time with the possible restraint of competition involved in such agreements. We hope that a satisfactory solution for the legal position of these contracts will soon be found, lead ing to a balanced relationship between the rights and obligations of the respective parties. The soft drinks industry continued its consultation with the European Commission regarding a special directive of its own. It is our hope that this will be introduced in the course of 1981. It will enlarge the possibilities for the trade in soft drinks within Europe and also provides a legal guarantee for a proper composition of the products. Once again, no progress was made during the past year regarding the creation of a market regulation for alcohol within the Community. We are following with apprehension the plans of the European Commission with regard to the harmonization of excise duties. The differences between the European countries in level of duty and in systems of levying are not, in our opinion, at present a material obstacle to inter-state traffic in beeraslongas not every fiscal/admin istrative procedure has been abolished in the movement of trade within the Community. Different taxation of com peting products may, however, indeed have a distorting effect. We are afraid that at the present moment too much account is taken in European Community circles of the position of wine, as a result of which there is a risk that beer will come to find itself in a relatively unfavourable position. In 1980 the beer market in the Netherlands showed a slight increase. Despite the less clement weather beer consumption rose somewhat, namely from 84.9 to 86.4 litres per capita. In this market, which was characterized by intensified competition, we managed to maintain our share. As a result of government price measures the selling prices could not be raised sufficiently. Consequently the cost increases could not be completely offset. Control of costs is therefore more than ever essential. The measur es taken hitherto have for the time being not been effect ive enough. The efficiency and flexibility of the organiza tion will have to be further increased. The Netherlands soft drinks market was affected by the poor summer months and the economic recession. Our market share remained practically constant. The leading brands, in which we hold a strong position with for exam ple Pepsi-Cola, Seven-Up and Royal Club, enjoy an increasing interest on the part of the quality-conscious consumer. In particular, our own brand Royal Club per formed well with products such as tonic, bitter lemon and shandy. In order to strengthen our position in the soft drinks market, the launching of a number of new products is in course of preparation. In consultation with the government authorities, the Ne therlands soft drinks industry has made proposals for the introduction of a compulsory deposit arrangement with regard to packaging made of glass or plastic. The spirits market in the Netherlands showed an un balanced trend. This was a consequence of the early announcement of the sharp increase in excise duty to take effect from January 11980, which led to exceptio nally large purchases towards the end of 1979. Owing to this buying surge the sales in 1980 dropped conside rably. Our new grapefruit liqueur Paradisi is meeting with grow ing interest both in the Netherlands and abroad. Partly as a result of the rise in imports of foreign products we foresee little growth for Dutch spirits in the years ahead. In the wine sector we represent mainly quality wines. The sales of these proceeded satisfactorily. We are endeav ouring to expand our position in the segment of plain wines, too. The reorganization started in the previous year of the marketing apparatus for the hotel, restaurant and café sector, in which our full range of products is sold, has now been introduced throughout the country. As a result we are closer to the customer and the rendering of ser vice can be improved. We expect positive effects from this in the years to come, as well as from the greater involvement of the marketing apparatus in the course of affairs in the area concerned. Numerous extensions took place in the brewery at Zoe- terwoude. The investments include the installation of eight brew-kettles and the doubling of capacity of the filling plant for barrelled beer. We are studying the possibility of installing a heat/power plant at Zoeterwoude for the co-generation of heat to be used in the brewing process and electricity. In this way, through arrangements with the government authorities, we can also be assured in the longer term of the supply of the necessary natural gas. If at a certain moment it is not required in the brewery itself, the electricity generated can be supplied to the public grid. As the employers' and workers' organizations in the Netherlands could not reach agreement on voluntary wage restraint, the Government curbed the growth of wage costs in 1980 by means of specific measures. 21

Jaarverslagen en Personeelsbladen Heineken

Jaarverslagen | 1980 | | pagina 22