December 20, 2017 / 11:26 AM / 8 months ago

Asahi to sell Tsingtao Brewery stake to Fosun, others for $937 million

TOKYO, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Japanese brewer Asahi Group Holdings said on Wednesday it would sell its 19.9 percent stake in China’s Tsingtao Brewery Co to China’s Fosun and others for a total of 106 billion yen ($937 million).

Asahi said in October it was considering the sale, its latest divestment from China’s beer market as it seeks to expand its business in Europe and other Asian markets.

It has agreed to sell most of its stake - about 243 million shares - to Fosun for $847 million, and the remainder, around 27 million shares, to Tsingtao for HK$735 million ($94 million), it said in a statement on Wednesday.

The sale price of HK$27.22 per share amounted to a 32 percent discount to Tsingtao’s last closing price in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

The decision to divest its stake in Tsingtao, which Asahi acquired in 2009 for around $666 million, follows the Japanese company’s announcement in June to sell its 20 percent stake in China’s Tingyi-Asahi Beverages Holding Co Ltd for $612 million.

The maker of Japan’s best-selling beer, Asahi Super Dry, has been intensifying its focus on Europe, and bought a group of eastern European beer brands from Anheuser-Busch InBev late last year for 7.3 billion euros.

China is the world’s largest beer market by sales, but profits have been harder to come by amid fierce competition between local brewers and global beer giants AB InBev, Heineken NV and Carlsberg.

$1 = 113.1500 yen $1 = 7.8234 Hong Kong dollars Reporting by Malcolm Foster in TOKYO; Editing by Susan Fenton

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