China. Brewer continues upward march on reports of potential buyout

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Shares of China Resources Beer (Holdings), or CR Beer, rose for a fifth straight session here Tuesday amid local media reports that the brewer may raise its stake in a joint venture.

The news fueled anticipation that the Chinese company will strengthen its core business. The stock closed up 4.87% at 15.94 Hong Kong dollars ($2.10) after touching a year-to-date high of HK$16.

CR Beer is thinking about buying part or all of SABMiller’s 49% stake in joint venture China Resources Snow Breweries, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Tuesday, citing sources with knowledge of the matter. The Chinese brewer is apparently tapping such banks as HSBC for advice, the newspaper said.

CR Beer officials declined to comment on a possible deal with the British brewer, according to the report, which also said the state-backed company may rely on parent China Resources (Holdings) for funds. This came a day after other media reports speculated that CR Beer might lift its stake.

SABMiller formally agreed in November to a buyout by Anheuser-Busch InBev. Many believe that SABMiller is moving to unload a stake in Snow Breweries because AB InBev and the joint venture would together control nearly 40% of the Chinese market, possibly exposing them to antitrust scrutiny.