SABMiller offloads its share of China's Snow beer

SABMiller has sold its 49% stake in China’s Snow Breweries to China Resources Beer, which owns the remaining 51%.

The US$1.6 billion sale is aimed at easing regulatory concerns about the merger of AB InBev and SABMiller, the world’s two biggest beer-makers.

SABMiller's JV with China Resources Beer was established in 1994 and the Snow brand was developed in the same year. Since then, Snow has grown to become the world’s largest beer brand by volume, selling more than 100 million hectolitres last year, according to Alan Clark, chief executive of SABMiller.

"Since forming the joint venture we have enjoyed a mutually beneficial partnership with CRB and together we have achieved great things in the Chinese beer market over the last 22 years,” he said.

The sale is expected to close in conjunction with the completion of AB InBev’s $108 billion takeover of SABMiller, currently expected to occur in the second half of 2016.