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Last Updated: Friday, 24 August 2007, 15:28 GMT 16:28 UK
SABMiller buys China beer firms
Beijing waitress serving Snow beer
SABMiller is beating local brewer Tsingtao in China
SABMiller is increasing its stake in China's fast-growing beer market by agreeing to buy four brewers in the country for $79m (39.3m).

The firm behind Peroni and Hansa Pilsner said it was making the mainly cash purchases through its 49% stake in China Resources Snow Breweries.

CR Snow will invest in two breweries in Liaoning province, one in Anhui and one in Hunan province.

SABMiller said it became the biggest Chinese brewer by sales last year.

'Commitment'

In November last year, the company said CR Snow's market share of the Chinese beer market had grown to 14.9%, overtaking local leader Tsingtao, which had a market share of 13.8%.

Snow is China's best-selling beer. But until now, CR Snow has not had a presence in the country's north-eastern Hunan province.

"'The acquisitions reflect our commitment to accelerate the national presence of Snow," said Andre Parker, managing director of SABMiller Africa & Asia.

He added that the purchases would add about five million hectolitres to CR Snow's current production capacity of close to 90 million hectolitres.

China's annual beer consumption is about 300 million hectolitres.

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