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Sapporo Breweries Ltd. said Friday its group operating balance sank into the red in the January-June first half due to lower sales, higher expenses and tougher competition. The brewery’s consolidated operating loss for the period came to 1.27 billion yen, a turnaround from a profit of 2.69 billion yen in the corresponding period a year ago.

The group net loss for the period increased to 6.29 billion yen from 3.9 billion yen from a year ago. Per-share net loss for the half year expanded to 18.57 yen from 11.51 yen. Group pretax loss soared to 5.44 billion yen from 2.2 billion yen, on sales of 240.25 billion yen, down 7.1 percent.

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