The world’s second largest brewer, Heineken, has agreed to buy Japanese rival Kirin's Brazilian operations for 2.2bn Brazillian reals (£567m).
Heineken said the acquisition will take place in the first half of this year, and will make the Dutch drinks maker second-largest beer producer in Brazil.
Previously trading under the Schincariol brand, Brasil Kirin had been the country’s second largest beer producer up until its acquisition by Kirin in 2011. In the years since then, the company has been rapidly losing market share, and the Kirin Company was known to be looking for partners to support its ailing beer business in Brazil.
Measured by output, Heineken is Europe’s second largest brewer, after Belgium’s AB InBev. It's clearly in an acquisitive mood: shareholders at British pub chain Punch Taverns gave the thumbs-up to its £403m takeover by Heineken last week.
In a statement today, Heineken said Brasil Kirin will provide "significant scale from which to drive future growth".
"The Brasil Kirin portfolio is highly complementary to Heineken's existing beer business, and will enable further growth of the well-established Schin, Bavaria, Kaiser, Amstel and Devassa brands in the mainstream and value segments.”
Home to the world’s third largest consumer market for beer, Brazil has become an increasingly difficult place for drinks manufacturers to do business as the country’s economy has slowed down.
Operating 12 breweries across the country, Brasil Kirin has a particularly strong presence in the North of the country, where Heineken has historically had less of a presence.
In addition to producing Kirin Ichiban beer, the Kirin Company has diverse holdings including engineering, real estate, healthcare and chemicals interests. Founded in 1885, the firm has around nearly 40,000 employees and trades on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
Jean-Francois van Boxmeer, chairman and chief executive of Heineken, said: "This transaction marks a step-change in scale in an exciting beer market, building on our success to date in the premium segment and strengthening our platform for future growth.
"It reiterates our commitment to the Brazilian market and confidence in our ability to generate attractive returns over the long-term across all segments of the market.”
“I look forward to welcoming our new colleagues from Brasil Kirin into Heineken and working with them to take the combined business forward."