China Resources/SABMiller JV buys breweries from Heineken

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China Resources Enterprise Ltd said on Wednesday that its joint venture with SABMiller , the world’s No. 2 brewer, has bought stakes in two beer makers in China from Heineken for 870 million yuan ($134.42 million) to cement its leading position in the country.

China Resources Snow Breweries Ltd (CR Snow) bought a 49 percent stake in Jiangsu Dafuhao Breweries and 100 percent of Shanghai Asia Pacific Brewery from Heineken Asia Pacific Brewery Co Ltd, it said in a statement.

“The group will continue to seek and evaluate investment opportunities actively as well as pursuing organic growth in order to expand our market share in China’s beer market,” said Chen Lang, chief executive of China Resources Enterprise, the country’s biggest supermarket operator and top beer maker.

However, China Resources has said it is not interested in bidding for Australia’s Foster’s Group Ltd , and that its main focus was developing the mainland market.

China is the world’s largest beer producer and consumer, attracting global giants such as SABMiller and Heineken to come and compete in the fast-growing industry.

China Resources said Jiangsu Dafuhao Breweries, which has a strong market position in central Jiangsu province, has five breweries in the province that can produce more than 450,000 kiloliters of beer a year in total.

Shanghai Asia Pacific Brewery, which produces “REEB”, the most famous beer brand in Shanghai, has an annual production capacity of 250,000 kiloliters.

CR Snow is the largest beer maker in the country, with a 21 percent market share. In 2010, the sales volume of “Snow” brand beer alone surged 16 percent to about 8.4 million kiloliters compared with the company’s total sales volume of 9.28 million kiloliters last year. ($1 = 6.472 Chinese Renminbi)