Heineken is upping its presence in the Belorussian beer market with the purchase of a majority stake in another brewer.

The company, which acquired Syabar in the country in January, said today (22 May) that it will spend US$9.9m on an increase in the share capital of Rechitsa. The move will lead ultimately to Heineken taking control of a 51% stake in Rechitsa.

The transaction, which remains subject to regulatory approval, will be financed from existing credit facilities and will be immediately earnings enhancing and value enhancing in 2010, Heineken said.

"This transaction underlines our confidence in the potential of the Belarus beer market," said Nico Nusmeier, Heineken's regional president for Central and Eastern Europe. "The combination of Syabar and Rechitsa will give us a complementary brand portfolio, a leading position in south-eastern Belarus and a strong platform on which to grow our Russian brands, the fastest growing segment in this region."

Last year, Rechitsa sold 285,000 hectolitres of beer, equating to a national production share of 8%. Located in the city of the same name, 280km from Minsk, Rechitsa has a technical capacity of 525,000 hectolitres and employs 588 staff.

The portfolio consists of the mainstream beer brand Rechitsa and its six sub brands, the economy brand Dneprovska and a recently-launched premium brand, BergG, which has three variants.

In January, Heineken acquired the holding company of Syabar Brewing Co. for an undisclosed sum. The parent firm has been bought from a consortium led by Detroit Investments Limited (Cyprus) and the International Finance Corporation, an affiliate of the World Bank.