Kirin Brewery has raised its stake in San Miguel Corp. The Japanese company upped its holding to 19.67% from 15.55% by acquiring 117m shares in the Philippine conglomerate.

Kirin bought the shares from SMC Retirement Plan, the pension fund of San Miguel employees, for PHP75 (US$1.34) each. The acquisition of B shares, which are available to foreigners, was made in three blocks worth a total of PHP8.8bn. the transactions were undertaken by Credit Lyonnais and ABN Amro.

In 2001, Kirin was persuaded by San Miguel Chairman Eduardo Cojuangco to buy a 15.55% stake, the third largest in the food and beverage company. Kirin, one of Japan's five largest brewers, bought the 442.56m B shares at PHP63 each that year.

The deal, completed in 2002, requires Kirin to vote on matters concerning San Miguel together with Cojuangco - who has a standing ownership dispute with the government over a 20% stake in San Miguel.