The investment bank, ABN Amro, has upgraded its rating on the shares of China's fourth-largest brewer, Harbin Brewery Group Ltd, from "add" to "buy" on the back of a strong sales performance in the third quarter.

ABN Amro also raised its 12-month target price for the stock by 11% to HK$3.31. In addition to the strong third quarter, the bank said the fact that SABMiller had taken a 30% stake in Harbin was also a factor behind the upgrade.

Harbin reported robust third-quarter sales with margins recovering, ABN said. Beer volumes rose by 28% in the late summer, underpinned by strong sales of premium products.