Kirin Holdings, the Japanese brewer, has launched an offer to buy out all remaining shares that it does not already own in Australian brewer Lion Nathan.

Kirin said today (23 April) that it has made an indicative proposal to Lion Nathan to buy up a 54% stake in the Australian group.

Kirin, which has appointed JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank as financial advisers, currently holds a 46% stake in Lion Nathan. If successful, the Japanese firm's offer would make Lion Nathan its wholly owned subsidiary.

"The proposal is currently preliminary, incomplete and non-binding and proposal terms are indicative only at this stage," said Kirin, which stated earlier this year that it intends to more rapidly expand its beer business outside of Japan.

"Kirin notes that the board of Lion Nathan has formed a committee of directors who are independent of Kirin, to consider Kirin's indicative proposal and to conduct discussions and negotiations with Kirin in the interests of the non-Kirin shareholders."

Financial details of the offer were not disclosed.

Lion Nathan has temporarily ceased trading on the Australian and New Zealand stock exchanges, until 27 April.