Molson Coors plants flag in China

Molson Coors plants flag in China

Molson Coors is set to expand its footprint in China after signing a joint venture deal with Hebei Si’hai Beer Co.

Molson Coors will take a controlling 51% stake in a joint-venture with Hebei Si'hai Beer Co for US$40m cash, the Canada-based brewer announced today (4 May).

The venture, to be named Molson Coors Si’hai Brewing Co, will have direct control over Si’hai brewing operations, including its contract brewing business.

The deal, nicknamed Project Dragon, will help Molson Coors to increase the proportion of its sales in China's strongly emerging beer market and decrease the group's reliance on mature western markets. Molson has sold Coors Light in China since 2003.

"We’re very pleased with the growth we have experienced in China over the past seven years and have reached the point where we now need a stronger route to market and a more substantial platform to provide greater efficiency, flexibility and support for the continued growth of our Coors Light flagship brand,” said Kandy Anand, president of Molson Coors International.

The venture will focus on Coors Light and Si'hai beer brands, although the latter will only be promoted regionally at first.

Molson Coors said that Si'hai Beer co is an attractive partner in China due to its strength in the country's Hebei Province and "proven ability to build a cost effective and profitable business".

The brewers expect to close the deal by the end of June.