SABMiller partner in corruption probe

30th April, 2014 by Rupert Millar

The chairman of SABMiller’s joint venture partner in China has been “detained” as the country’s on-going crackdown on corruption continues.

Flag of the People's Republic of ChinaAccording to Business Daily, Song Lin, chairman of China Resources Holding, was arrested last week in connection with a corruption case.

The state-run company is a partner with beer giant SABMiller in CRSnow, the biggest beer group in China and producer of the country’s leading beer brand, “Snow”.

Lin is apparently being investigated after auditors discovered that CRH subsidiary, China Resources Power, had overpaid for three coal mines last year.

SABMiller issued a statement to the effect that the detention of Lin would have “no impact” on its Asian business.

“As things stand, this investigation has nothing to do with SABMiller or our CRSB joint venture,” said the statement.

“We have no reason to believe that the investigation will have any material adverse impact on our operations. The joint venture will continue to be managed and operated in the normal course of business.”

Business Daily pointed out that what SABMiller has potentially lost is a strong link to the Chinese government.

On the other hand, with the Chinese market beginning to slow and companies across the wine, beer and spirit trade feeling the pinch as a result of premier Xi Jinping’s austerity drive, this link is less important than it might previously have been.

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