Japanese brewing giant Asahi says that it is considering the sale of its 20 per cent share of one of China’s biggest beer brands, Tsingtao Brewery Co, reports Reuters.
It would be the latest in a number of divestments from China’s brewing industry as Asahi consolidates its position in other Asian markets and Europe.
In June, Asahi sold its 20 per cent stake in China’s brewer Tingyi-Asahi Beverages Holding Co Ltd for $612 million.
But the Tsingtao share could be worth much more. Asahi acquired it in 2009 for $666m, since when its value has increased to almost HK$8.5bn (US$1.1bn).
The maker of Japan’s best-selling beer, Asahi Super Dry, has been intensifying its focus on Europe, buying up a group of eastern European beer brands from Anheuser-Busch InBev for €7.3 billion (US$8.6bn) last year. This gave the company around 9 per cent of the European beer market, excluding Russia.
“We are engaging in efforts to ‘restructure our business portfolio with a focus on asset efficiency,’ to assess whether each business contributes to sustainable enhancement of corporate value,” Asahi said in a statement.
The company has said that it would restructure its operations in South East Asia and China, regions which are facing increased competition as the market consolidates just as growth slows.
It did not identify a potential buyer or selling price for the stake.