SABMiller, the international brewer, has announced it has agreed a strategic alliance with Anadolu Efes to create Russia’s second-biggest beer maker. The maker of Grolsch and Peroni said that under the agreement with Anadolu it would exchange its Russian and Ukrainian business worth an estimated $1.9bn for a 24% holding in the enlarged company. Anadolu will maintain control of the Turkish brewer with a reduced stake of 42.8%. Graham Mackay, chief executive of SABMiller, said: “Both SABMiller and Anadolu Efes have proved to be successful operators in diverse and challenging emerging beer markets and this strategic alliance will allow both our groups to benefit from each other's expertise, and the combination of our resources. “Anadolu Efes's leading position in beer and soft drinks in the Turkish market and an alliance for further growth and acquisitions in the CIS and Middle East are highly attractive. The prospects for these markets are excellent. They exhibit positive long-term demographic, GDP and beer market growth outlooks. We have admired the achievements of Anadolu Efes for many years and we are looking forward to working closely with them in the future." The news of the strategic alliance came as SABMiller said that its performance for the six months to the end of September was in line with its estimates. Lager volumes were 3% up and soft drink volumes grew by 6% during the six months, with strong growth in Latin America and Africa offseting weaknesses in its North American and European markets. The company said that volume growth combined with selective price increases and mix benefits increased group revenue by 6%. Lager volumes in Europe remained flat, which the company said was impacted by the continuing fragile economic environment. It said this further reduced consumer confidence and expenditure during the period. It said that volume performance for Europe as a whole benefited from significant growth in Ukraine as well as continued positive performance in the UK. In Latin America lager volumes grew 8%, in Africa they were up 15%, Asia saw volumes rise 4% while growth in South Africa was flat. In the US, the company’s sales of MillerCoors to retailers (STRs) were down by 2.3% in a market which it said continued to be impacted by high unemployment and subdued consumer spending.