Multinational brewer Heineken has announced the signing of a non-binding agreement with China Resources Enterprise (CRE) and China Resources Beer (CR Beer) that will strengthen the Dutch firm’s presence in the Far East.
The $3.1 billion agreement will create a long-term strategic partnership in which Heineken will become a 40% minority partner of CRH Beer, the Chinese beer market leader and controller of CR Beer. Under the terms of the partnership, Heineken will license its brand to CR Beer in China, Hong Kong and Macau on a long-term basis.
The combination of both companies will allow CRE to advance its premiumisation strategy as well as help Heineken to expand the availability of the Heineken brand in China, the firms said in a statement.
Commenting on the news, Heineken CEO Jean-François van Boxmeer said: “We very much look forward to joining forces with CRE and CR Beer, the undisputed market leader in China. We believe that our strong Heineken® brand and marketing capabilities, combined with CR Beer’s deep understanding of the local market, its scale and best-in-class distribution network will create a winning combination in the growing premium beer segment in China”.
CRE chairman Chen Lang added: “In Heineken we have found the perfect partner to achieve our ambitions in China and – as an international partner – to support us in growing our business outside China”.