Royal Unibrew is to markedly up its stake in a Caribbean brewer.

The Danish brewer is reported to have lined up the purchase of 52% of St Vincent Brewery for US$9.3m, local reports said today (2 July). Following the purchase, Unibrew will subsequently control a 76% stake in St Vincent.

In the local reports, Royal Unibrew was cited as saying: "The acquisition of St Vincent Brewery will win Royal Unibrew the leading position in the market, thus strengthening the group's overall position in the region.

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

The company also said that it expects synergies between St Vincent Brewery and its previously-acquired breweries in Antigua and Dominica.

Earlier this year, the brewer posted growing losses in the first three months of 2007. Pre-tax losses for the three months to the end of March came in at DKK59.1m (US$10.7m) against losses of DKK51.1m a year earlier. The rising losses were described by the brewer "as expected", as high raw material costs and ongoing price competition were forecast to hit the bottom line.