Molson Coors has announced a $35m joint venture with Cobra India to market the beer brand in the booming beer market of India and South Asia. The venture will be called Molson Coors Cobra India, and will be chaired by Lord Bilimoria, Cobra’s founder and chairman of the Cobra Beer Partnership, a similar joint venture between Molson Coors and Cobra in the UK and elsewhere outside of South Asia. Under the agreement, Molson Coors will buy a controlling stake of Cobra India from the existing shareholders and will have operational control over the new venture. Molson Coors will also be investing extra capital in the new venture to meet the working capital requirements and the future expansion plans. Total investment from Molson Coors is to be $35m. The deal with Cobra India includes a 175,000 hl brewery in Bihar state with potential to expand to 500,000 hl, and a beer portfolio consisting of Cobra Premium, King Cobra Superior and Iceberg 9000. It will focus on India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Molson Coors Cobra India’s headquarters will be in Mumbai. Operations will be led by Ravi Kaza, the president, and the management team will include the original Cobra brewer Dr Cariapa. The move comes at a boom time for the Indian beer market, which is growing at 12% per year and is estimated to grow to 50m hl by 2020, putting it in the top 10 global beer markets. Kandy Anand, president of Molson Coors International, said: “This deal marks the beginning of a long-term commitment to establish Molson Coors in India, the world’s fastest growing beer market. “Our first step will be to work with Cobra India’s employees, customers and suppliers to consolidate the business. Longer-term, our ambition is to build this compelling brand and grow the business to a meaningful market share as part of Molson Coors International’s strategy to achieve critical mass in high-growth emerging markets.” Peter Swinburn, president and chief executive of Molson Coors, said: “Our joint venture in India is an exciting opportunity for us to expand our footprint in Asia and represents the next major milestone in executing our global growth strategy. “Over the past year, we have entered several new markets and I believe we are now in a much stronger position to leverage our experience and accelerate our international growth trajectory over the next few years.”