Mexican beverage and retail group FEMSA has effectively divested its stake in Heineken as it seeks to free up capital for expansion.

FEMSA has sold €3.6bn ($3.8bn) in shares that were jointly owned in the Heineken Holding (6.2% of total value at €1bn) and Heineken NV (5.1% of total value at €2.6bn).

The latest share sell-off by FEMSA comes off the back of an internal strategic review, during which the decision was made to sell its Heineken Holding and Heineken NV stakes.

The group stated its intention to focus on its “core business verticals”, such as its South American retail units OXXO and its Coca-Cola bottling operation Coca-Cola FEMSA.

Shortly after that announcement, Heineken struck a deal to purchase €1bn of its own shares from FEMSA, and the Dutch brewer has once again participated in this offering.

The Amstel brewer announced on Wednesday 31 May it had bought €235m of the issued stock in Heineken NV and €98m of the stake in Heineken Holding.

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Heineken’s controlling family and corporate entity L’Arche Green, meanwhile, acquired a €98m of the offered shares in Heineken Holding.

In a note to investors Heineken said: “Heineken will fund the share purchase from existing cash resources and credit facilities. The impact on Heineken’s net debt / EBITDA (beia) ratio is expected to be minimal and will be earnings-per-share accretive. Heineken intends to keep the purchased Heineken shares in treasury and the purchased Heineken Holding NV shares on its balance sheet.

“Heineken Holding NV’s position as controlling shareholder in Heineken will not be affected.”

FEMSA was the Heineken group’s second largest shareholder with a stake of 12.2% in Heineken Holding, and a separate 8.6% of Heineken NV which added up to an effective 15% stake in the combined company. Its shares were valued at €7.5bn last year.

Initially, FEMSA invested in Heineken as part of the deal the Tiger brewer struck to acquire the Mexican company’s beer business in 2010. Included in that deal was a 20% stake in Heineken, which was later reduced by 5% in 2017.