Compañía Cervecerías Unidas has approved the merger of its wine subsidiary Viña San Pedro with Viña Tarapacá.

The Chilean drinks company, which also operates in neighbouring Argentina, confirmed yesterday (15 July) that its board has okayed the move, which will see CCU buy 25% of Viña Tarapacá from its owner, Compañía Chilena de Fósforos, for around US$33.1m. CCU will subsequently hold a 44.9% stake in the merged company, with CCF accounting for 30%. The remaining 25.1% will be held by "other shareholders", the company said.

CCU said the decision was taken to merge due to the prospect of "synergies of high scale operations that
would allow costs and expenses savings, the strengthening of the brand portfolio and a rationalisation of the
productive and commercial processes".

The merger of the two Chilean wine units should be completed at some point within the next four months.

The first three months of 2008 saw net profits at CCU leap by 18.8% on the corresponding period a year earlier, coming in at CLP32.69bn (US$74.7m). Sales also headed north, rising by 6.2% to CLP183.48bn. Operating profit performed similarly to sales, increasing by 8.6% to CLP40.92bn.