Snow to sell unit stake to breweries

Snow Brand Milk Products Co. said Wednesday it will sell part of its stake in Yukijirushi Access Inc. to Asahi Breweries Ltd. and Kirin Brewery Co.

The move is aimed at beefing up the firm’s financial health and at raising resources for its rehabilitation plan.

Snow Brand Milk will sell 1.57 million, or 3 percent, of its outstanding shares of food wholesale unit Yukijirushi Access to each beer brewer for 1.163 billion yen on Oct. 24, the company said.

After these transactions, Snow Brand Milk’s stake in Yukijirushi Access will fall to 27.72 percent from 33.72 percent, it said.

Trading firm Itochu Corp. holds a 25 percent stake in the firm.

Several other trading companies also hold stakes in Yukijirushi Access, including Mitsubishi Corp., with an 8 percent stake; Marubeni Corp., with a 7.5 percent stake; and Mitsui & Co., with a 2.5 percent stake.

The Snow Brand group was bludgeoned in 2000 by a widespread food-poisoning outbreak caused by milk products made by the parent company.

It suffered another savage blow from a beef-mislabeling fraud involving its subsidiary, Snow Brand Foods Co., which disbanded April 30.