As of October 1, the activity of the brewer’s bottling plant in Blaj will be suspended by the end of March 2010. The 110 workers of the plant, mainly those in production, will take temporary layoff. The plant has a headcount of almost 200.

According to InBev Romania, the workers affected by this measure “will have all the rights set forth by the law in force and collective agreement”.

“The main reasons of this decision are to avoid permanent layoff, to optimize supply-demand ratio as well as to keep InBev Romania’s competitive edge in the market. The measure came as a response to the weaker demand due to the economic context and seasonality. In this period, we will continue the beer production at our plant in Ploiesti”, the company said.

The malting plant will remain operational and to minimize the effects over other departments, the employees will take unpaid leave by rotation, according to InBev.

The fully-owned subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev posted sales down to €173.5 mln in 2008, from €188.5 mln a year earlier. The brewer’s net profit plummeted 53% YoY in 2008, down to €15 mln.

The world’s largest brewing company said earlier this year that it planned to sell off its operations in Central and Eastern Europe in order to reduce debt. Its operations in Central and Eastern Europe include 11 divisions in seven countries – Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Czech Republic, Serbia and Montenegro. The 11 units put out an aggregate 1.2 bln liters of beer annually and have approximately 6,000 employees.