DIAGEO has been given the go-ahead by Chinese authorities to take full control of the company that owns Shuijingfang, the white spirits producer, as it looks to expand its presence in the Asian market.
The world’s largest drinks company said yesterday that it has bought the remaining 47 per cent stake it does not already own in the holding company Sichuan Chengdu Shuijingfang Group Company (SJF Holdco) for £233m.
This will increase its indirect stake in Shuijingfang – one of the best known and oldest producers of China’s baijiu liquor – to 39.71 per cent from 21.05 per cent.
Diageo has been increasing its stake in the business for the last six years as part of an overall drive to increase its presence in emerging markets in order to offset slowing sales of premium drinks in Europe.
Last year, the group launched Shuijingfang – brought out to toast celebratory events – in the UK to tap into the rising number of Chinese customers in Britain.