Having watched as rival Anheuser-Busch took a 29% stake in Harbin Brewery, SABMiller today launched a takeover offer for the Chinese brewer for HK$ 4.30 in cash per share.

SABMiller already held a 29% stake in Harbin before the Anheuser acquisition, and this bid to take control of the brewer is conditional upon SABMiller obtaining enough acceptances to take a 50% stake.

The offer price of HK$4.30 per share represents a premium of approximately 33.3% to the price of HK$3.225 per share as quoted on Friday.

Graham Mackay, chief executive of SABMiller said: "We believe this offer represents excellent value to Harbin's shareholders and a powerful strategic fit with our existing joint venture operations in North East China. Harbin provides SABMiller with the opportunity to enhance its local brand portfolios to the benefit of consumers, and further develop our regional leadership. Moving to a majority ownership position is a natural progression in our commitment to China and its strongly growing brewing sector. Majority ownership and commitment by SABMiller will ensure a successful future for Harbin.

"The offer is fully supported by our partner, China Resources Enterprise, Limited and opens potential opportunities to explore and take advantage of further co-operation with our existing joint venture China Resources Breweries."

SABMiller is already one of the leading brewers in China, with interests in 30 breweries in North East and Central China.

Anglo Chinese is the financial advisor to SABMiller on this transaction.