Wed, Dec 14, 2011 - Page 10 News List

Asahi plans takeovers in Southeast Asian nations


Naoki Izumiya, president of Asahi Group Holdings Ltd, poses for a photograph in Tokyo on Monday.
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Photo: Bloomberg

Asahi Group Holdings Ltd, Japan’s biggest beermaker by volume, plans takeovers across Southeast Asia to access wider margins in a market of more than half a billion people as demand weakens at home.

“We are looking at Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia,” Asahi president Naoki Izumiya, 63, said in an interview in Tokyo late on Monday. “We already know the targets.”

The brewer’s push into the region will give it access to markets where some rivals’ margins are more than double that of Asahi’s, as Japan’s aging population crimps demand in its home market. A purchase will add to Asahi’s most acquisitive year as a strong yen boosts Japanese companies’ buying power abroad.

Asahi made 6.6 percent of sales abroad last year, compared with 23.4 percent for Kirin Holdings Co, Japan’s biggest brewer by market value, according to company statements. Sales from overseas will probably increase to 10 percent this year, said Takayuki Tanaka, a spokesman for Asahi.

“We want to expand our Super Dry brand and sell beer globally,” Izumiya said. “We can’t just cut costs. We have to increase our top line as well.”

Carlsberg A/S will produce and sell Asahi’s “Super Dry” beer in Malaysia, the Japanese brewer said in a statement yesterday.

Asahi needs to increase sales by ¥100 billion (US$1.28 billion) yearly, he said. The company earlier said it aimed to boost sales to between ¥2 trillion and ¥2.5 trillion by 2015, with 20 percent to 30 percent revenue from overseas.

This has been Asahi’s most acquisitive year, with seven announced deals worth at least US$1.88 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Asahi’s biggest acquisition has been its purchase of Independent Liquor Ltd of New Zealand for NZ$1.5 billion (US$1.14 billion) in August. The company bought Australian beverages firm P&N Beverages Pty Ltd, New Zealand’s Charlie’s Group Ltd and Independent Liquor and Malaysia’s Permanis SDN. All deals were completed in the second half of this year.

Asahi has announced more than US$3.3 billion in purchases abroad in the past five years, compared with about US$14 billion for Kirin, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Kirin last month agreed to buy out shareholders in Brazilian beermaker Schincariol Participacoes e Representacoes, completing its biggest acquisition, while Suntory Holdings Ltd in 2009 bought European drink maker Orangina Schweppes from Blackstone Group LP and Lion Capital LLP.

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