Beverage giants Carlsberg and SABMiller have announced plans to expand further in the Chinese beer market.
SABMiller’s Chinese joint venture with China Resources Enterprise, CR Snow, is to acquire the remaining 55 per cent and 25 per cent stakes in Hangzhou Xihu and Huzhou breweries from Asahi Breweries Itochu, the group announced today.
The US$47m deal strengthens CR Snow’s position in Zhejiang province, which is one of the largest markets in central China, said the brewer.
The acquisition of the Hangzhou Xihu Beer and Huzhou Brewery follows recent strategic transactions to build CR Snow’s presence in key markets and grow value, said the firm.
Last month, CR Snow announced it had acquired Heineken-APB’s 49 per cent equity interest in Jiangsu Dafuhao Breweries and its 100 per cent equity interest in Shanghai Asia Pacific Brewery.
Carlsberg’s new venture
Meanwhile Carlsberg announced it will own 30 per cent of a new joint venture with its China unit Chongqing Brewery Co (CBC) along with Chongqing Light Textile Holdings (CLT), CBC’s other main shareholder.
The new company, Chongqing Xinghui Investment (CXI), will operate 12 breweries in China.
CBC will contribute to the joint venture through its ownership of five breweries, CLT will contribute its ownership of seven breweries and the Carlsberg Group will make a contribution of approximately RMB 200m (approximately DKK 160m).
In 2010, the Carlsberg Group increased its ownership in CBC, becoming the largest shareholder in the company.
At the time, the Carlsberg Group said it was keen to expand its Chinese operations and further strengthen its cooperation with CLT and CBC.
The new transaction is conditional upon a number of steps and approvals by authorities and minority shareholders, said Carlsberg.
China’s beer growth
The Asian beer market is to account for 38 per cent of total beer consumption by 2015, according to Canadean.
The beverage research company said that with the Asian market dominated by China, in five years time it is predicted that the country will account for over a quarter of all beer consumption.
The Chinese beer market is forecast to reach 573 million hectare litres (mhls) by the end of the forecast period, over twice the size of the US, the second largest beer market in the world.