SABMillers CR Snow saw net sales rise by 14% in 2010

SABMiller's CR Snow saw net sales rise by 14% in 2010

SABMiller has confirmed that its Chinese joint venture, CR Snow, was the mystery bidder for Asia Pacific Breweries' 21% stake in China's Kingway Brewery.

CR Snow, which is 51%-held by China Resources Enterprise and 49% owned by SABMiller, had agreed to buy 21.37% of Kingway Brewery from rival group Asia Pacific Breweries, itself a joint venture between Heineken and Fraser & Neave. At the time of the deal, CR Snow's identity was kept secret.

However, last week, Kingway's majority shareholder, GDH, scuppered the deal by enacting its right to first refusal on the stake. GDH secured the stake by matching CR Snow's offer of CNY1.08bn (US$164.5m).

Late last week, a spokesperson for SABMiller confirmed to just-drinks that CR Snow was the intended buyer, should Government-controlled GDH have decided to let the deal proceed. He declined to comment further on the sale and subsequent intervention by GDH.

The deal could have offered CR Snow a stronger foothold in Guangdong province, where it is does not have a significant presence, despite growing demand nationwide for the company's beers. Last month, China Resources Enterprise said that CR Snow's net sales rose by 14% in 2010.