Lion Nathan, the Australian brewer and winemaker, announced today that it had agreed a Chinese beer licensing deal with Kirin Brewery, the Japanese drinks group which holds a 46% stake in Lion Nathan.

The deal will see Lion Nathan take on the rightss to manufacture, market and sell Kirin's Ichiban and Seijun beers in China.

Lion Nathan has been struggling in the Chinese market in recent years but the group's losses are being reduced as volumes improve. Last year, Lion Nathan recorded a loss of A$7.7m.

The company has breweries in Suzhou and Wuxi in China, and sells beer brands including Taihusui, Steinlager and Rheineck in the Jiangsu Province and Shanghai areas, the group said in a statement.