During the year under review the combined Netherlands brewers reached agreement on the replacement of the 30-centilitre bottle, which has been on the market since 1948, The change-over to the new 30-centilitre bottle is to be effectuated between October 1986 and April 1987 At the same time suitably adapted crates will be introduced for our Heineken and Amstel brands, with great attention being paid to an optimum presentation. These replace ments involve investments of some N.fl. 150 million. The heat and power co-generation plant at the brewery in Zoeterwoude was officially taken into operation in mid- 1985. A new storage shed for export beer was also completed at this establishment. In the brewery at s-Hertogenbosch the capacity of the bright beer cellars was expanded. The Netherlands soft drinks market increased slightly in 1985. Within this market there was some improvement in the position of the proprietary brands. In addition, the sugar-free soft drinks showed an advance. Nevertheless there was still no end to the alarming situation in the soft drinks market as a whole Irresponsible price competition continued to exist, leading to a further reduc tion in margins. The market share of our soft drinks company Vrumona BV showed a further growth in 1985. Exports declined, albeit to a lesser extent than those of the total Netherlands soft drinks industry, so that our relative export position im proved. It was hardly possible, however, to pass on in the selling prices the cost increases which were partly due to rising raw material prices, as a result of which Vrumona's earnings remained under pressure. In order to achieve the necessary recovery in profitability in the longer term, a restructuring plan has been worked out by Vrumona. In 1985 the Netherlands market for spirits was scarcely able to recover from the sharp decline in 1984. which was due to the sizeable increase in excise duty as from February 1 in that year. Total sales rose to a very small extent. Despite this weak market situation our subsidiary Gedistil leerd en Wijngroep Nederland BV was able to improve its share in the market for Netherlands spirits and advo- kaat Owing to the continuing price competition, margins in the whole sector remained under pressure. Our product range was strengthened by the acquisition of the import agency for the Netherlands of Osborne sherries and Bacardi rum Our sales of wines increased, despite the fact that the total market - especially the white wines - was affected by the poor summer and the problems concerning Austrian wines. Labour relations in the Netherlands establishments were generally good. The average number of personnel was 6.142 in 1985. compared with 6.067 in 1984. A 38-hour working week was introduced in 1985. As is the case elsewhere in industry, it has been our experience that shortening of working hours is not very effective as a means of creating jobs. For Vrumona proposals to change the organization were submitted to the relevant works council and employees' organization. The change in the organization will lead to a reduction in the numbers of personnel, for which a social plan has been drawn up. An investigation held during the year under review into the future position of the Amsterdam brewery led early in 1986 to the proposed decision to close this establishment in a few years' time. France The beer market in France again declined in 1985. mainly as a result of the further reduction in purchasing power and the poor weather in the early season and during the summer months. Sogebra S.A., the holding company of Heineken France S.A., Union de Brasseries S.A. and Brasserie Pelforth S.A., managed to maintain its share in the reduced beer market. The Heineken and Pelforth brands were a favourable exception to the decline in sales. The Heineken brand, in particular, again showed a considerable increase. Sogeb ra. in which we have a 51 interest, did not make a positive contribution to the trading profit. The substantial invest ment programme for Heineken France was completed in the past year. A new canning line was taken into use in the Pelforth brewery at Mons-en-Baroeul. Sogebra has laid down the principles for the long-term policy. As was announced early in 1986, it is intended to integrate the three operating companies while maintaining their commercial identity. In conjunction with this, a plan for modernization and restructuring has been drawn up which comprises, on the one hand, the closure of four unprofi table production units. These are the breweries at Aix- Noulette. Chalons-sur-Marne and Yutz as well as the bottling plant at Saint-Laurent du Var. The social conse quences of this will be offset as far as possible. In this context much attention will be paid to placement elsewhere and re-training, as well as to assistance in starting up an own business. On the other hand, the plan comprises a substantial modernization programme for the other breweries, i.e. the establishments at Drancy, Marseilles. Mons-en-Baroeul, Mutzig and Schiltigheim, involving an investment of some N.fl. 250 million in the years to come. It is expected that these restructuring and modernization measures will have a favourable effect on earnings in the longer term. 24

Jaarverslagen en Personeelsbladen Heineken

Jaarverslagen | 1985 | | pagina 22