By 07 December, 2009

Heineken NV, the world's third-largest brewer, has agreed a deal to brew and sell its own brand beer in India and will integrate its various other operations in the Asia Pacific region.

In a complicated series of transactions, Heineken will acquire APB India from Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd (ABP), its own joint venture with Fraser and Neave, and transfer it into United Breweries Limited (UBL).

Heineken and UBL, 37.5 percent owned by Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya and his associates and 37.5 percent by Heineken, would seek to develop the Heineken brand throughout India, Heineken said in a statement on Monday.

"In the world of beer, there is no bigger or more exciting growth opportunity than India," Heineken Chief Executive Jean-Francois van Boxmeer said in the statement.

"Our partnership and the combination of the Kingfisher and Heineken brands will transform our ability to unlock the market's considerable potential and to shape the premium segment," he continued.

Separately, Heineken said it would strengthen its APB alliance by transferring its controlling interest in PT Multi Bintang Indonesia (MBI) and Grande Brasserie de Nouvelle-Caledonie SA (GBNC).

Transfer of Heineken's shareholding in MBI to APB would give rise to a mandatory cash offer for the MBI free float shares by APB, of which Heineken holds 42 percent.

Heineken, whose chief brands are Heineken itself and Amstel, Europe's number one and three beers, said overall it would book an exceptional pretax gain of 145 million euros ($219 million) in 2010. Consolidated net debt would fall by 175 million euros.

The effects would be broadly neutral at the level of net profit before one-off items.

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