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Carlsberg Gets Final Approval to Increase China Brewery Stake

Carlsberg A/S received the final approval from China’s government to boost its shareholding in Chongqing Brewery Co., paving the way for further expansion in the world’s most population nation.

China’s Ministry of Commerce approved Chongqing Brewery’s proposal to sell a 12.25 percent stake to Carlsberg, the Chinese company said in a statement to Shanghai’s stock exchange yesterday. The Hong Kong unit of Copenhagen-based Carlsberg will pay 2.39 billion yuan ($359 million) to boost its holding in Chongqing Brewery to 29.7 percent.

The transaction does not require further regulatory approval, Deng Wei, board secretary of Chongqing Brewery, said today by phone, without giving a timetable for completion of the purchase. China’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission approved the transaction last month.

Carlsberg is among global beermakers expanding their investments in the world’s biggest producer of the alcoholic beverage. Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the world’s largest brewer, controls Harbin Brewery Group Ltd. SABMiller Plc, the second-largest brewer in the world by volume, owns 49 percent of Snow Breweries, its joint venture with China Resources Enterprise Ltd.

Beer production increased 7 percent to more than 40 million kiloliters in China last year, making it the world’s top producer, according to Tokyo-based Kirin Holdings Co. Chongqing, in southwestern China, is the country’s largest municipality with a population of 28.6 million.

Chongqing Brewery shares fell 3 percent to 71 yuan at the 11:30 a.m. break in Shanghai. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.5 percent.

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