Interbrew, announced today that following the exercise of a put option, it has paid €612m for 100% control of Hops Cooperatieve U.A. ("Hops"), which will give it control of South Korea's second largest brewer Oriental Brewery.  

Hops holds 45% of the shares of Oriental Brewery, having acquired these shares from the Doosan Group.  The acquisition raises Interbrew's stake in Oriental to 95%. The remaining 5% is still owned by Doosan, although Interbrew has the option to buy Doosan's stake by 2006.

Interbrew said that the transaction will have no impact on its EPS but confirms the brewing group's commitment in South Korea to Oriental Brewery.

Oriental controls about 42% of the South Korean beer market, according to Interbrew.

Interbrew entered into the put and call agreement with Hops in June 2001, shortly after the fund bought the 45% stake in Oriental from Doosan.