Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, the private equity group behind the purchase of Anheuser-Busch InBev's Oriental Brewery last month, has posted net losses of US$1.9bn for 2008.

The pre-tax losses compare to profits of $838m for the 12 months of 2007, said Kohlberg (KKR) in a trading update this week.

The announcement comes less than a month after KKR announced that it had signed a deal to buy Oriental Brewery, South Korea's second largest brewer, from Anheuser-Busch InBev for a total $1.8bn.

Commenting on the Oriental deal, the New York-based private equity group said that its acquisition "demonstrated its ability to successfully deploy capital".

KKR said that it was the only bidder for Oriental to gain concrete guarantees from banks on debt financing.

Oriental has 43% share of the South Korean beer market and sits behind market leader Hite Brewery.

KKR said that it currently has $15.4bn of uninvested capital, consisting of around $6bn each in the US and Europe and $3bn in Asia.

As part of the Oriental deal, A-B InBev will have the option of buying the brewery back in five years.