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Sapporo Breweries Ltd., a major beer brewer, said on Thursday it has set up a joint venture in Taiwan with a local business group to run a beer restaurant chain featuring the company’s draft beer products and non-Chinese dishes.

The new company, capitalized at 50 million New Taiwan dollars (US$1.54 million), will be owned 25 percent by Sapporo and 75 percent by the Panvest Group of Taiwan. Sapporo said it will ship beer for the restaurants in refrigerated containers from Japan.

The first of the beer restaurants will open in Taipei next January, followed by seven more by the end of 2003, Sapporo said, adding that first-year sales are forecast at 250 million yen. Sapporo and Panvest hope the new restaurant chain will break even from the second year of operations.

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