Natural gas-rich Kazakhstan's increasing thirst for beer has helped prompt the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to lend around US$40m (KTZ5m) to a leading local brewer.

The money will assist Efes Karaganda Brewery in boosting brewing capacity, infrastructure facilities and marketing departments at its existing plants in Almaty and Karaganda.

The EBRD said: "The investment programme will help satisfy increasing beer demand in Kazakhstan and will help Efes to increase its market share."

Efes Karaganda is a subsidiary of Turkish controlled Efes Breweries International, which operates in Russia, Kazakhstan, Serbia and Moldova.