Kirin Holdings plans to raise its stake in San Miguel Brewery to 49%, after announcing that it has agreed a deal to buy 43% of the Philippines-based brewer for nearly PHP59bn (US$1.2bn).

Kirin said today (20 February) that it has signed a deal for the 43% stake with San Miguel Brewery (SMB) parent firm San Miguel Corp.

The Japanese brewer said that it intends to launch a tender offer for additional SMB shares, potentially raising its stake to 49%.

The move is part of Kirin's strategy to expand beer operations outside of its native Japan, while San Miguel Corp is believed to be eyeing a shift away from beer in favour of other sectors, particularly energy.

"This investment will significantly contribute to Kirin's further growth in its alcohol business in Asia and Oceania," Kirin said.

It added today that it will also enter exclusive negotiations with San Miguel Corp and SMB with a view to SMB purchasing overseas beer operations from its parent group. The groups have six months to reach a deal.

San Miguel Corp has already begun a process of wholly divesting its domestic beer assets to SMB, for a total PHP39bn. SMB has said it plans to launch a PHP38.8bn bond to finance the deal.

Separately, Kirin said in a further statement today that it would sell its 20% stake in San Miguel Corp for approximately PHP39.6bn to Q-Tech Alliance Holdings, a Philippines-based investment group. 

SMB, which last month reported an 11% rise in revenue and a 25% jump in net income for 2008, has a 95% share of the Philippines beer market and is active in several markets across the Asia Pacific region. Its brands include San Miguel Light, Red Horse and Gold Eagle.

Kirin said that net profit rose by 20% in 2008 to JPY80.18bn (US$880m). A group spokesperson told just-drinks last week that the firm plans to source 30% of its beer sales from outside of Japan by 2015. It estimates that 24% of sales will come from other countries in 2009.