Sapporo Holdings has become the latest Japanese brewer to expand overseas, by agreeing a deal to buy out Carlsberg from its Kronenbourg Vietnam business.

Sapporo will enter the Vietnamese beer market by taking a 65% stake in Kronenbourg Vietnam for nearly US$25.4m, the Japanese brewer announced today (10 December).

Kronenbourg Vietnam was previously a 50-50 joint venture between state-owned Vietnam National Tobacco Corp and Carlsberg, the Danish brewer having acquired its share of the business via its takeover of Scottish & Newcastle assets in 2008.

Sapporo will buy out Carlsberg and also take 15% of Vietnam National Tobacco's stake.

The deal is the latest in a series of overseas acquisitions for Japan's largest drinks firms, which are keen to use emerging markets in Asia to offset stagnating domestic sales.

Sapporo said that it plans to build a brewery for Kronenbourg Vietnam, which will change its name to Sapporo Vietnam Ltd following completion of the deal.

The Japanese brewer also echoed rivals Kirin Holdings, Suntory and Asahi, by asserting that international expansion is part of its long-term strategy to grow sales.

The deal frees Carlsberg to focus on its other interests in Vietnam, although it will retain control of the importation and distribution of the Kronenbourg 1664 brand.  

A spokesperson for Carlsberg told just-drinks today: "We have sold our stake as we this summer started building our own new brewery in the same area where Vietnam National Tobacco Corp planned a brewery."

He added: "We sold our stake to a company which has now passed it on to Sapporo."  

Last month, Carlsberg signed a deal to take full control of Hué Brewery in the country. In September, the Danish brewer signed a deal to raise its stake in Vietnam's Habeco brewer to 30%.

Vietnam's beer consumption is around 19 litres per capita, compared to nearer 30 litres in China and more than 100 litres in several western markets, such as Germany and the US.