Heineken is now the major shareholder in United Breweries

Heineken is now the major shareholder in United Breweries

Heineken has confirmed that it has raised its stake in India's United Breweries.

Reports out of India earlier this week claimed that the Amsterdam-headquartered brewer, which held a 37.4% holding in United Breweries, has bought a further 1.3% stake. The transaction cost Heineken in the region of INR2.8bn (US$46m), the reports said.

When contacted by just-drinks today (11 December), a spokesperson for Heineken confirmed that the transaction had been completed. The brewer, which inherited the United Breweries interest when it teamed with Carlsberg to buy Scottish & Newcastle in 2008, now owns 38.7% of the Indian firm.

“These shares were offered to us by Citi Bank,” the spokesperson for Heineken said. “As a long-term partner in United Breweries (UBL), it made sense for us to buy them.

“We believe in the Indian beer market and UBL’s long-term future,” the spokesperson added, before declining to comment further on Heineken's future intentions regarding United Breweries' ownership.

“This is a relatively small movement that does not materially change the ownership structure,” the spokesperson concluded. “It is very much business as usual for all parties.”

The purchase makes Heineken United Breweries' largest stakeholder, overtaking Vijay Mallya, the chairman of The UB Group, who owns 37.4% through a range of investment vehicles.

Last month, United Breweries posted a marked fall in net profits in the six months to the end of September despite a slight rise in sales in the period.