The Belgian brewing combine, Interbrew, has confirmed that it is to proceed with plans to acquire a 50% stake in Serbia's principal brewer, Apatin, and will also bid for the remaining 50% in the company for a total investment of €326.9m (US$366m).

Interbrew originally acquired a 9.37% stake in Apatin in May, 2002. The total €326.9m investment includes a capital increase of €64.9m, the companies said.

"On the basis of an agreement on strategic partnership, Interbrew will secure 50% of the ownership participation in Apatin brewery," Interbrew and Apatin said in a joint statement. "After securing necessary regulatory approval Interbrew will issue a public offer for the remaining 50% of the Apatin brewery."

Apatin has a market share of around 40% and produced 2.4m hectolitres of beer in 2002.