Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd is to use its surplus cash to buy the remaining 23% of New Zealand's DB Breweries Ltd. it does not already own. APB, a Singapore-based brewing venture partly owned by Heineken, said today that it was offering a 20% premium, or NZ$9.50 (US$6.10) a share, for the rest of DB, valuing the New Zealand brewer at NZ$479 m.

The acquisition will cost APB US$71 m.

In a statement, APB said: "The offer is being made to enable APBL to privatise and de-list DB, and reflects APBL's strong long-term commitment to its business in New Zealand."

While there is little growth in the New Zealand beer market, it is expected that DB will continue to compete for market share with its number one rival Lion Nathan Ltd. DB is also expected to cut costs further and to change its product mix, focusing more on premium brands such as Heineken.

In May, the New Zealand brewer announced a 2.1% rise in net profit to NZ$17.2m (US$10.37m) for the first half to 31 March, compared with NZ$16.8m a year earlier. Operating profit, expressed as EBIT, rose by 14.2% year-on-year to NZ$26.8m.