Carlsberg Asia, the subsidiary of the Daish brewing giant, has increased its shareholding in the South Korean Hite brewery by another 8.4% for approx. US$68m.

The move increases its shareholding in the biggest South Korean brewery to just above 35%.

In a statement Carlsberg said: "The acquisition strengthens both Carlsberg Asia#;s position as one of Asia#;s largest brewery groups and the co-operation with the Park family. The Park family has controlled the company since its establishment in 1933."

Hite will be consolidated as an associated company.

The statement continued: "The acquisition is part of Carlsberg Breweries#; strategy to strengthen its position in Asia through the joint venture company Carlsberg Asia."

Carlsberg Asia is under establishment and is 50/50 owned by Carlsberg Breweries A/S and Chang Beverages.

Hite is South Korea#;s biggest brewery with a market share of 54%.

"The company has been through an outstanding turn around since the Asian crisis of 1997/98 and its Korean management has secured Hite#;s position as the top earning drinks company in the country," said Carlsberg.

In 2001 the production from Hite's three modern breweries was approx. 9.5m hectolitres of beer.