Sapporo buys into U.S. juice maker

Bloomberg

Sapporo Holdings Ltd., which last year reported it had about $1.5 billion to spend on acquisitions, bought Florida-based juice maker Silver Springs Citrus Inc. to expand in the United States.

The brewer agreed to pay $24 million to Toyota Tsusho America Inc. for a 51 percent stake in the orange and grapefruit juice producer, Sapporo said in a statement.

The deal values Silver Springs at about 0.4 times fiscal 2011 sales, lower than the 1.08 times revenue paid for nonalcoholic beverage makers worldwide in the past 12 months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Sapporo intends to improve quality at Silver Springs and to introduce drink-making technology, according to the statement.

The beer maker and rivals Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. and Kirin Holdings Co. are expanding outside Japan, where the aging and shrinking population is dampening sales of beer.

Sapporo shares have dropped 22 percent in the past 12 months, compared with a 16 percent drop in the Nikkei 225 stock average.

Sapporo President Tsutomu Kamijo last February said the company planned to spend as much as ¥125 billion to expand in North America, Southeast Asia and Japan.