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Kirin sells San Miguel but buys its brewey

KIRIN Holdings Co, Japan's biggest drinks manufacturer, will buy a 43.25-percent stake in the Philippines' biggest beer maker, San Miguel Brewery, to counter slowing beer sales at home.

Kirin will pay 58.9 billion pesos (US$1.22 billion), partly funded by the sale of its holding in the brewer's parent company, San Miguel Corp, Kirin told the Tokyo stock exchange. The price represents an 8.8-percent discount on San Miguel Brewery's closing price yesterday.

San Miguel Brewery shares fell 7.2 percent to close at 9 pesos in Manila before the announcement, the most since the company's initial public offering in May. San Miguel Corp spun off its brewery arm in May to diversify into energy and mining.

The purchase will help Kirin President Kazuyasu Kato meet his goal of doubling the proportion of overseas sales by 2015. Kirin dropped 0.8 percent to 930 yen in Tokyo.

"We view the investment in San Miguel Brewery as positive since it entails the core alcohol business with high profitability and growth potential," JPMorgan Chase & Co analyst Naomi Takagi said before the announcement.

The sale reduces San Miguel Corp's stake in the brewery to 51 percent from 94.25 percent.

Kirin said yesterday it will sell its 19.9 percent stake in parent San Miguel Corp.


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