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Asahi looks to offload stake in China’s Tsingtao Brewery to focus on Europe

Kyodo

Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. said Thursday it is looking to sell some or all of its 20 percent stake in Tsingtao Brewery Co., China’s second-largest beer maker, to focus resources on growing its European business.

Asahi, Japan’s largest brewery, acquired the stake in 2009 from Belgium-based Anheuser-Busch InBev SA, becoming the Chinese company’s second-largest shareholder.

Sale details will be decided through a bidding process, Asahi said, adding the impact on its financial results for the year through December has yet to be determined.

The planned sale comes after the tie-up failed to yield the results that Asahi had hoped for, as plans to use Tsingtao Brewery’s plants to produce its flagship Super Dry lager and craft beers for the Chinese market did not materialize, sources familiar with the matter said.

Asahi has been trimming its presence in Asia and turning its attention to Europe.

Asahi announced last June it was selling its stake in a Chinese beverage joint venture to partner Tingyi (Cayman Islands) Holding Corp. Earlier this month, it said it was selling all of its holdings in two Indonesian joint ventures.

Meanwhile, the beer maker has over the past several years acquired British brewer SABMiller’s former operations spanning from Italy to Romania in a bid to strengthen its foothold in the area.