First half soured for four major brewers’ profits

JIJI

Four major breweries saw year-on-year drops in group operating profit for the January-June half on expanded promotional costs, although all saw sales grow.

The drops are also attributable to the unusually small amounts that were spent on promotion last year as the companies voluntarily restricted advertising in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Sapporo Holdings Ltd. posted its first operating loss in five years on a first-half basis. Sales were bolstered by the addition of soft drink maker Pokka Corp., a new consolidated subsidiary, but profitability in the domestic liquor business was pressured by active spending to boost sales.

Kirin Holdings Co. enjoyed overall growth, thanks partly to rising revenue from operations abroad. But domestic sales of alcoholic beverages fell 0.9 percent because of sluggish beer sales.

Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. posted sales growth from all sectors, while Suntory Holdings Ltd. saw domestic sales surge 7.9 percent mainly on strong sales of Premium Malt’s. Kirin posted sales of ¥1.04 trillion, up 4 percent from a year ago, and operating profit of ¥57.2 billion, down 21.4 percent, in the January-June half. Suntory sales rose 4.4 percent to ¥870 billion and operating profit sank 25 percent to ¥38 billion.