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Black ink flows for three breweries

JIJI

Three of Japan’s four major brewers reported year-on-year increases in consolidated operating profits in 2013, according to their financial statements released by Monday.

Suntory Holdings Ltd. and Asahi Group Holdings Co. marked record sales, operating profits and net profits thanks to brisk sales of beer and soft drinks.

Suntory posted an extraordinary profit of ¥177 billion as its key unit Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd. went public. Asahi included full-year earnings of Calpis Co., which it acquired in 2012.

Sapporo Holdings Ltd. suffered red ink in food and drink operations, affected by the prolonged business integration between Sapporo Beverage Co. and Pokka Corp., but it scored growth in both its sales and operating profit thanks to strong performances of its beer business and North American operations.

Increasing sales of premium beer contributed to strong earnings at the three companies.

Kirin Holdings Co., however, saw its operating profit decrease despite higher sales led by operations in Australia. The profit drop reflected sluggish sales of beer and quasi-beer due partly to delayed efforts to promote premium beer.

For 2014, all four expect sales growth despite expectations of intensifying competition due to the consumption tax hike in April.