InBev has refused to be drawn on reports that it is lining up the sale of its South Korean operations.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, a report in the Financial Times yesterday (11 January) claimed that InBev has assigned JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank as advisers to oversee a sale process for Oriental Brewery in the country.

InBev, which late last year closed its purchase of Anheuser-Busch for US$52bn, is looking at non-core businesses it could sell off to help fund the acquisition. Local reports out of South Korea in recent months have claimed that Oriental is a possible divestment opportunity for the company.

"The sale process for Oriental is about to get going again," one banker hoping to advise a potential buyer was quoted as saying in the Financial Times story. "Many groups will be interested in taking part."

When contacted by just-drinks today, however, a spokesperson for InBev said: "We are contemplating disposals of certain assets to help re-finance the acquisition of Anheuser-Busch. However, we cannot comment at this stage on which businesses specifically would be considered.

"Anheuser-Busch InBev's decision will be based on a diligent review of the strategic and financial consequences of any divestment, with the goal of creating the best opportunities and value for all constituents."

Oriental is the second largest beer manufacturer in South Korea, accounting for around 40% market share. The market leader in the country is Hite Brewery.