The Chinese investment group Sichuan Blue Sword Group is to buy a controlling stake in the country's largest supplier of beer barley and hops, it has been reported.

The news service Bloomberg said Blue Sword will buy 46.09%, or about 170m non-tradeable shares, in Xinjiang Hops. A price for the stake was not disclosed.

The stake will be bought from Xinjiang Hengyuan Investment and Xinjiang Light Industry Supply, the two biggest shareholders.

Blue Sword, based in the south-western province of Sichuan, already has an interest in the beer market, being aprt of a joint venture in the country with SABMiller.