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3 major brewers see record Jan.-June operating profits

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Three of four major brewers logged record operating profits in January-June, according to their first-half financial statements.

Although beer sales have been sluggish, the three companies’ overseas operations and sales of nonalcoholic beverages were strong.

Suntory Holdings Ltd. posted record group sales of ¥1,293.9 billion for the first half, up 1.6 percent from a year earlier, and a record operating profit of ¥93.6 billion, up 7.3 percent. Suntory enjoyed strong sales of soft drinks and mineral water.

As for alcoholic beverages, sales of “chuhai” cocktails expanded and the strong performance of U.S. spirits maker Beam Inc.

Acquired by the company in 2014 and is now called Beam Suntory Inc., Beam boosted the group’s consolidated earnings.

Consolidated sales at Asahi Group Holdings rose 20.4 percent to a record ¥937.3 billion and operating profit also hit a record high of ¥70.7 billion, up 34 percent, thanks to Asahi’s acquisition of several businesses in Europe.

Sales of Asahi’s nonalcoholic beverages and third-segment beer-like drinks were robust in Japan, but sales of its flagship Super Dry beer fell.

Kirin Holdings Co. registered a 35.7 percent rise in operating profit to a record ¥79.7 billion thanks to its soft drinks, including Namacha bottled green tea, and its pharmaceutical business doing well.

However, Kirin’s mainstay Ichiban Shibori beer fared poorly. Its group sales were down 4.6 percent to ¥961.7 billion.

Sapporo Holdings Ltd. saw operating profit fall 1 percent to ¥3 billion due to ballooning costs for sales promotions and logistics.

But sales of its Black Label and Yebisu beer brands expanded to help push up its consolidated sales by 4.4 percent to ¥259.7 billion.Speech

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