March 21, 2017 / 5:33 AM / in 5 months

UPDATE 1-China Resources Beer swings to profit in 2016, eyes acquisitions

2 Min Read

* Says beer sales volume rose 0.3 pct in 2016

* Average selling price up 2.3 pct

* Aims to grow organically and through acquisitions (Add earnings details, company comments)

HONG KONG, March 21 (Reuters) - China Resources Beer (Holdings) Co Ltd reported its first annual profit in three years on Tuesday as it focused on its flagship Snow brand and expanded sales in various Chinese cities, and said it would grow through acquisitions.

"Looking ahead, the overall market capacity may fluctuate due to the various lingering uncertainties in the macro economy and ongoing intense competition," Chairman Chen Lang said in a statement.

"The business will continue to be developed through both organic growth and evaluation of suitable potential acquisition opportunities, which will play out more synergy effects brought about by mergers and acquisitions," Chen said.

The owner of Chinese beer brand Snow on Tuesday posted profit of 629 million yuan ($91.1 million), compared with a restated 4.1 billion yuan loss in 2015 including losses in other businesses, which it sold to its parent in September 2015.

Revenue increased 2.6 percent to 28.69 billion yuan.

Beer sales volume increased 0.3 percent to 11.72 million kilolitres amid unfavourable weather conditions, a sluggish economic environment and high competition. Average selling prices increased 2.3 percent.

China Resources Beer in October said it wholly owned China Resources Snow Breweries after buying the 49 percent stake it did not already own from SABMiller PLC for $1.6 billion

"It is expected that the benefit of the acquisition of 49 percent stake will be fully reflected in 2017," Chen said.

Analysts see further upside potential on the stock if the Chinese brewer co-operates or co-invests with international brands to speed up product-mix upgrades.

Shares of China Resources Beer eased 0.5 percent after the results, lagging a 0.3 percent gain in the benchmark index .

$1 = 6.9060 Chinese yuan Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

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