Japanese brewer Kirin Holdings may take a 43% stake in San Miguel Brewery, after agreeing to enter exclusive negotiations with the  firm's parent, San Miguel Corp.

Kirin, Japan's second largest brewer, said today (19 January) that it has gained exclusive rights to enter talks with San Miguel Corp about the Philippine group's beer business.

Kirin said it planned to acquire a 43.25% stake in San Miguel Brewery, which, if successful, "will significantly contrinbute to Kirin's further growth in its alcohol business in Asia and Oceania".

Both groups hope to sign a final agreement by the end of February, Kirin added.

A shrinking domestic beer market has forced Japan's big brewers to look abroad for fresh growth opportunities.

San Miguel Brewery has a 95% of the Philippines beer market, as well as a presence in China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand. Kirin already owns Australia's largest brewer, Lion Nathan