SABMiller's Chinese joint venture, China Resources Breweries (CRB), is to take hold of a 70% stake in Qianjiang, the single largest brewery in Zhejiang Province.

CRB is a subsidiary of China Resources Enterprise (CRE).

CRB has entered into a conditional agreement with the majority shareholder of Zhejiang Qianpi Group Company Limited (Qianjiang), whereby both parties will reorganise Qianjiang into a joint venture company. CRB will have 70% equity interests in the company and the current shareholders of Qianjiang will hold the remaining 30% interests.

Qianjiang is the single largest brewery in Zhejiang Province in terms of production capacity. With the new company, the annual production capacity of CRB will be increased by about 480,000 kilolitres to approximately 4.56m kilolitres with breweries in the North Eastern, South Western, Central and Eastern region of mainland China. Qianjiang achieved sales volume of 240,000 kilolitres in 2003.

Frank Ning, chairman of CRE, said: "With Qianjiang, CRB not only can strengthen its leading position in the brewing industry in China but also be able to expand its geographical coverage to the Eastern part of China. CRB will exploit its experience, capital, management expertise and technical skill in order to strengthen its brands and to bring better products and services to the consumers in China."

Kong Fei Yue, general manager of Qianjiang, said: "Qianjiang is a leading brewing company in Zhejiang. We believe that the cooperation with CRB will increase Qianjiang's competitiveness and advantages and to transform the company into the most successful brewing company in Zhejiang."