Japan brewer Asahi Group ups full-year outlook after Europe brand purchase

A pint of Asahi lager beer is seen in a bar in Singapore June 17, 2017. — Reuters pic
A pint of Asahi lager beer is seen in a bar in Singapore June 17, 2017. — Reuters pic

TOKYO, Aug 3 — Japan’s Asahi Group Holdings Ltd raised its full-year earnings outlook this morning, boosted by the inclusion of the eastern European beer brands it acquired from Anheuser-Busch InBev NV earlier this year.

Asahi said it now expected operating profit to rise 22.2 per cent to ¥167.3 billion (RM6.477 billion) for the year through December, compared with an earlier forecast of ¥146 billion.

The company also raised the outlook for its annual dividend payment to ¥69 per share from ¥60 per share.

Operating profit for the six months through June grew 34 per cent to ¥70.7 billion as the beer maker digested the US$8 billion (RM34.252 billion) European deal that closed in March, the largest-ever overseas beer deal by a Japanese brewer.

While Asahi’s home market remains its profit mainstay, the brewer is pinning hopes on its overseas acquisitions for growth.

Asahi has spent around ¥1.2 trillion buying up beer brands in eight European countries from AB Inbev, the world’s biggest brewer, who sold off assets to appease regulators during its US$100 billion acquisition of SABMiller.

Targeting higher-yielding assets and with its focus on the expanded European operations, Asahi has been reviewing businesses where it holds minority stakes.

In June, it annouced it would sell its 20 per cent stake in Chinese brewer Tingyi-Asahi Beverages Holding Co Ltd for US$612 million.

Asahi is not the only Japanese brewer seeking growth overseas.

Sapporo Holdings Ltd this morning said it would buy Californian brewer Anchor Brewing Co for US$33 million as it looks to bolster its US operations.

Sapporo also reported operating profit fell 1 per cent to ¥3 billion in the six months through June due to rising costs. — Reuters

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