Brewing combine InBev has announced that it is selling certain retail estate assets in the Netherlands and Belgium to Belgian property group Cofinimmo.

The brewer said it had entered into an agreement with Cofinimmo which would see InBev Belgium sell 90% of Immobrew S.A./N.V., a subsidiary which directly owns 824 pubs and some residential real estate locations in Belgium and indirectly 245 in the Netherlands, for EUR419m (US$571m) on a debt and cash free basis. At the same time, InBev will enter into a lease agreement with Immobrew and some of its affiliates.

InBev said the move was consistent with its commitment to free up capital invested in non-core activities, thereby enhancing the focus on its core beer business.

"Freeing up resources will allow us to concentrate on winning with consumers, via our beer brands," said InBev's zone president for Western Europe Stéfan Descheemaeker. "The on-trade segment in Belgium and the Netherlands remains a key priority for us as it is one of the main channels through which we connect with consumers. We are particularly happy to have Cofinimmo, a leading Belgian real estate company, as our partner for this important segment."

The commercial relationship between the pub tenants and InBev will not change, the brewer said, adding that "its business in pubs and bars is a tradition and strength, and will remain a key factor for success in connecting with consumers". The brewer will continue to be the dedicated partner and supplier for the respective properties in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Cofinimmo has committed to further investments in the properties.

Jean-Edouard Carbonnelle, chief financial officer of Cofinimmo, said: "We are thrilled to welcome InBev as our most important private long-term tenant into our portfolio, to ensure a secure income stream and to capture long-term capital gains associated with many outstanding pub locations. We are confident that our partnership with InBev will be successful and that this diversification into a new type of real estate for Cofinimmo will create increased returns for our shareholders and an improved risk allocation."