• Compiled From Kyodo, Bloomberg


Asahi Breweries Ltd. said Tuesday it hopes to expand ties with the Lotte group, with which it already has a beer sales partnership, as the firm tries to turn around its struggling soft drink business in South Korea.

Asahi’s plan to work more closely with the Lotte group, the top maker of nonalcoholic drinks in South Korea, comes after the Tokyo-based firm decided to sell its South Korean subsidiary, Haitai Beverage Co., whose sales have been sluggish, Asahi officials said.

Asahi, popular for its Super Dry beer, wants a new soft drink partner in South Korea after concluding Haitai probably won’t be able to turn around its business, the officials said.

The brewer is speeding up negotiations to look for a buyer for its loss-making subsidiary while aiming to expand its operations in South Korea by teaming up with Lotte in product development and marketing for both the beer and soft drink businesses.

Lotte distributes Super Dry in South Korea, as Asahi bought a 15 percent stake in Highstar Co., the South Korean company’s liquor import unit, in 2004. Asahi owns a 58 percent stake in Haitai.

In the business year that ended last December, Haitai logged a ¥2.9 billion operating loss and is expected to stay in the red on an operating basis this year with a projected loss of ¥2.4 billion.

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