In 1996, Advent established Brewery Holdings Ltd. (BHL) to acquire Miercurea Ciuc, a regional beer brewer and distributor in Romania, backing a forward thinking and quality oriented local management team.
Advent immediately expanded the management team, hiring a Commercial Director and CFO and invested in production and distribution capabilities. In 1998, Ciuc became the platform for a buy-and-build strategy that saw the group further expand by two breweries.
During that time, a new Western Group CEO was introduced to work with the existing management team to oversee further investments and synergies of this rapidly growing concern. The focus was on further enhancing the quality of the beer and increasing the overall capacity of the group.
Between 1996 and 2000, BHL’s market share rocketed from 4% to 20% in the face of strong competition from multinationals. It was the fastest growing and most profitable group in the country. Despite high inflation and volatile exchange rates, real annual growth averaged in excess of 30% for the years 1997 to 2000. Investment in the operations of the group during these years exceeded $35m.
The business was sold to BBAG AG of Austria (the number two player in the market) in 2000.