Sapporo Holdings Ltd., which last month cut its profit forecast, will invest as much as ¥200 billion over five years to boost growth and consider acquisitions to expand in food and soft drinks.
The beer maker is keeping its pledge to invest ¥150 billion to ¥200 billion by 2016 even after cutting annual revenue and profit projections, President Tsutomu Kamijo said in an interview in Tokyo last week.
Sapporo and larger competitors Kirin Holdings Co. and Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. are making investments overseas and in businesses such as food and soft drinks to help offset slumping beer demand at home. Sapporo last month slashed its operating income forecast 20 percent to ¥16 billion for 2012 on higher marketing expenses.
“We lowered the earnings forecast so the level of operating cash flow will be lower a little bit, but it won’t have a big impact” on the investment plan, Kamijo said.
The brewer is planning the investments amid a slump in its stock price this year. Sapporo shares closed up 3.9 percent at ¥215 on Friday. The stock is still down 26 percent this year, compared with a 0.9 percent gain for the Topix Index.
Sapporo wants to strengthen its domestic food business after buying beverage and food maker Pokka Corp. last year.
Kamijo, without elaborating, said he is also “watching with interest” for possible investment opportunities in the domestic yogurt or milk industries.
The company bought a 51 percent stake in U.S. beverage maker Silver Springs Citrus Inc. earlier this year as part of its plan to expand in North America.
Industrywide, beer sales in Japan fell 3.7 percent to 442 million cases last year, the lowest level comparable records were first kept in 1992.
Sapporo got 65 percent of its 2011 revenue of ¥454 billion from the brewing business, 17 percent from the Pokka Group and 8 percent from other drink businesses, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The brewer last month reduced its sales forecast by 3 percent to ¥493 billion.
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