Cobra Beer has announced a collaboration with Mount Shivalik Group, the largest independent brewing company in India.  Under the agreement, Mount Shivalik will brew the UK beer brand under licence at its facility in Rajasthan, for the domestic Indian market.

Announcing the joint venture, Karan Bilimoria DL, founder and chief executive of Cobra Beer said: "It has been my dream to brew Cobra Beer in India again, and I am pleased to announce Cobra's partnership with Mount Shivalik. India's beer market is an emerging market with tremendous growth opportunities, and I am confident that we can provide Indian consumers with a truly international, super premium beer at affordable prices."

As part of the agreement, Cobra Beer will deploy its technical expertise at the brewery in Rajasthan, which is currently being upgraded to meet Cobra's stringent quality standards. Trial brewing is expected to commence in mid-April, with the first batch of locally-brewed Cobra anticipated for September 2004. The Mount Shivalik Group has a national market share of 8% with an installed capacity of 7m cases split equally between their two plants; Mount Shivalik Breweries Limited (MSBL) in Punjab and Mount Shivalik Industries Limited (MSIL) in Rajasthan.

Sanjiv Bali, executive director, Mount Shivalik Group, said: "This agreement complements the strengths and strategies of both parties. Mount Shivalik Group is proud to be associated with a leading international brand like Cobra Beer and we are confident in the success that lies ahead."

Cobra Beer, along with Mount Shivalik, has invested approximately US$1m in the brewery. MSIL will initially be producing product for all Indian markets where Cobra is currently available, until further brewing facilities are commenced in due course throughout India.