Asia Pacific Breweries has completed the construction of its greenfield brewery in Laos.

The completion, which follows the opening of a new APB brewery in Mongolia last year, represents the ninth country in Asia Pacific that the company now has operations in, APB said today (12 March). The brewer, which is a joint venture between Heineken and Fraser & Neave, now has 33 operating breweries in 12 countries.

Established by Lao Asia Pacific Breweries, a joint venture company between APB (68%), the Government of Laos (25%) and SBK Consultant Ltd (7%), the brewery cost around EUR23m (US$35.5m) to construct.

The 300,000-hectolitre facility, located in the Xaythany District of Laos, will brew the company's flagship Tiger beer brand. Tiger had previously only been available in the country as an imported beer. The brewery will also introduce other brands in due course, APB added.

"The realisation of APB's brewery in Laos provides an excellent platform to build its market position in a growing beer market, and enables us to reinforce our leading position in the Indochina beer market," said APB's CEO, Koh Poh Tiong. "It is a fulfillment of our long-standing ambition of having a brewery in each of the countries in Indochina.

"The Indochina region has consistently been APB's largest profit contributor and accounted for about 48% of APB's total PBIT for FY 2007/08.

"As we press on with our regionalisation strategy, we shall continue to set our sights on new markets where our entry and participation will allow us to further extend our footprint and capture a larger share of the profit pool in those markets," Koh concluded.