The Lotte Group has moved to distance itself from reports that it may be interested in acquiring Anheuser-Busch InBev's South Korean brewer.

The South Korean conglomerate was responding to reports out of the country today (20 November), claiming that Lotte would be keen on Oriental Brewery Co., should A-B InBev put the unit up for sale.

"We have decided to actively review the acquisition of Oriental Brewery, if the company asks us to buy its shares," an unnamed source close to Lotte Group was cited as telling Yonhap English News.

The sale price of Oriental Brewery is estimated at about US$200m, the source said.

But, in a separate report, Lotte said: "We're not interested in Oriental Brewery."

When contacted by just-drinks today, a spokesperson for A-B InBev said that the newly-named company had "a  list of assets at both companies" that it would consider divesting to help fund the acquisition. The spokesperson declined to detail the list, noting that A-B InBev has up to one year to make the divestments.

In its former incarnation, Interbrew, InBev acquired Hops Cooperatieve for EUR612m (US$767.7m) in 2004. Hops held 45% of the shares of Oriental Brewery at the time, having acquired these shares from the Doosan Group. The acquisition raised Interbrew's stake in Oriental to 95%.

Oriental is the second largest beer manufacturer in South Korea, accounting for around 40% market share. The market leader in the country is Hite Brewery.