The Slovenia Times

Sola and Zala soft drink brands sold to Croatian company

Flags at the headquarters of the Union brewery.
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA
File photo

Slovenia's largest brewer Pivovarna Laško Union has sold its soft drink brands Sola and Zala to Nika Bev, a Croatian-owned company, to focus on its core business. The value of the deal has not been disclosed.

Under the contract, Nika Bev, a Slovenian company that is owned by Stanić Beverages from Croatia, will continue to distribute the two brands on the Slovenian market.

The Heineken-owned brewery has already moved beer production out of its Ljubljana location, which is situated just next to the city centre.

"The decision to sell the two brands is due to the limited scope that the Ljubljana city centre affords for further long-term development and production growth at the current location," Zooullis Mina, managing director at Pivovarna Laško Union, said on 13 January.

"With the sale of the two brands, Pivovarna Laško Union will reduce the complexity of production and simplify its operations. This will allow the company to focus more on ensuring sustainable growth in beer-making and distribution," the company said.

The Sola and Zala soft drinks will continue to be made in Ljubljana at least until the end of September.

Talking with Mina, the public broadcaster TV Slovenija reported that of a total of 525 Laško Union employees, 120 are for now staying in Ljubljana. Fifty of them are to be offered jobs in Laško, along with a €8,000 bonus.

Similarly, Alenka Sojer, a trade union representative at the Ljubljana location, told the commercial broadcaster POP TV that 70 employees are expected to lose their jobs.

According to Mina, the company will stay present in Ljubljana with the museum and the Union brewery as the brand's centre of excellence. TV Slovenija reported that it plans to open a small city brewery at the site.

As to the large prime plot left empty at the Ljubljana location, Mina told TV Slovenija they have engaged with the community, the city of Ljubljana and the Faculty of Architecture. "The university is in the process of a great project which is trying to see what could the next use of this site be," he said.

Pivovarna Union Laško will continue to make investments in Slovenia through a three-year €30 million investment programme, including the acquisition of distributor Davidov Hram.

"Further investment is also planned for Pivovarna Laško to make it one of the largest Heineken breweries in the region," Mina said.

Stanić Beverages has been a partner in the production and distribution of Sola products for years. "Consequently they are devoted to a long-term development of both brands by ensuring a continued high quality of products," the brewery said.

The Zagreb-based Stanić Beverages, which produces fruit juices under the brand Juicy, is owned by Svjetlan Stanić from Bosnia-Herzegovina.


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