Danish brewer Royal Unibrew has upped its presence in the Caribbean with the US$15m acquisition of controlling stakes in three companies.

The brewer, which is keen to expand its footprint in the Caribbean and African malt drinks markets, paid a total of US$15.3m for the stakes.

Royal Unibrew has taken a 91.7% share of Antigua Brewery and a 58.4% stake in Dominica Brewery & Beverages. Both breweries already produce Royal Unibrew's Vitamalt brand under licence.

Royal Unibrew also snapped up a 75% stake in local packaging firm Antigua PET Plant.

Company CEO Poul Møller said yesterday (13 December) that the deals give the company leadership of the malt drinks, beer and soft drinks sectors in Antigua and Dominica.

He added: "The access to new, strong local brands and attractive product portfolios provides an opportunity of increased profitability through the expected synergies within purchasing, production, sales, marketing, distribution and organisation."

Royal Unibrew has exported products to the Caribbean for over 30 years. In 2004, the company a majority stake in distribution company Impec Holding SAS, which handles its products in Gaudeloupe and Martinique.