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Industry leader Asahi Breweries Ltd. reported Friday a record net profit for 2003, buoyed by strong sales of a newly introduced “happoshu” beerlike beverage.

The country’s largest brewer in terms of market share said its net profit for 2003 rose 57 percent to 23.21 billion yen for the third consecutive year of record earnings. Sales rose 1.8 percent to 1.4 trillion yen.

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