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CASTLE MALTING NEWS in partnership with www.e-malt.com Dutch
14 April, 2006

Brewing news Czech Republic: Prazdroj launches filling room construction worth CZK 1 billion

Plzensky Prazdroj launched on April 12 the construction of a new filling room worth CZK 1 billion on April , spokesman Alexej Bechtin to Czech News Agency. Prazdroj, owned by SABMiller, expects to put the new facility in operation in October. The construction part will cost CZK 450 million and technologies CZK 550 million. Prazdroj's biggest investment in Plzen after 1989 is designed to raise the output of premium lager from 1.5 to 2 million hectolitres at the end of the year, according to the The Prague Daily Monitor.

"There will be two lines in the new filling room. One for all types of bottles with capacity of 60,000 bottles an hour, the other for cans with output of 38,000 units per hour," said Josef Prochazka, manager at the filling room.

The new facility will replace an export filling room from 1967 with capacity of 36,000 bottles per hour. Prazdroj will keep the other filling room with a nine-year-old Italian line and capacity of 50,000 bottles an hour.

In December last year, Prazdroj started to install ten new tanks for fermentation and maturation. At present, the company has 104 tanks in total. Investment in the tanks and an expansion of Prazdroj's brew house will exceed CZK 200 million this year.

"Further plans to expand the filling room in two phases and to build the last addition to the brew house will depend on demand for our premium lager Pilsner Urquell," said Prazdroj manager Jaroslav Gubis.

At present, draught beer makes up 55 percent of Prazdroj's portfolio. "An expansion of the production of Pilsner Urquell is in accord with a growth in sales on foreign markets," said Bechtin.He added exports would grow markedly this year, while domestic sales have been flat at last year's level. In 2005, the company sold 8 million hectolitres of beer in the Czech Republic and 2.2 million hl abroad.

From April 2004 to end of March 2005, Prazdroj made net profit worth almost CZK 3 billion on CZK 13.1 billion in sales. The company paid out over CZK 1.96 billion in dividends, the same as a year ago.


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