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Kirin Holdings Co. has cut its 2015 sales forecast because of a weaker outlook for its domestic beer operations and slower growth in its Australian subsidiary.

Sales will reach at least ¥2.3 trillion by 2015, lower than an earlier projection of ¥3 trillion, the brewer said Monday in a statement to the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Operating profit in 2015 will probably be more than ¥180 billion, according to the company’s estimate.

Kirin and competitors Sapporo Holdings Ltd. and Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. are making investments overseas as beer demand slumps at home. Beer sales in Japan fell 3.7 percent to 442 million cases last year, the lowest level since records began in 1992.

“Domestic liquor and beverage business didn’t grow as expected and growth in Australia’s dairy business wasn’t enough,” President Senji Miyake said at a news conference Monday.

Kirin in February forecast 2012 earnings below analyst estimates amid declines in its Lion unit in Australia and in the domestic beverage market.

Kirin in February projected 2012 earnings of 96 million Australian dollars (¥7.76 billion) from Lion, its Australian dairy, brewing and soft drink business, lower than the AU$350 million target set in 2010.

Earnings from Lion will miss estimates as discounting by the nation’s biggest retailers stymies its ability to raise prices, higher ingredient costs curb profitability and stalling consumer demand cuts sales, the brewer said.

Kirin plans to cut costs to improve profitability at Lion’s soft drinks operations, is said.

The brewer bought Brazilian beer company Schincariol Participacoes in 2011 and increased its stake in Manila-based San Miguel Brewery Inc. to 48 percent in 2009.

Brand strategy

JIJI

A new Kirin Holdings Co. unit that will be in charge of all beverage operations in Japan will focus on boosting Kirin’s brand image, the incoming chief of the new firm said.

“Crafting brand strategy is one of the most important tasks” at Kirin Co., said Yoshinori Isozaki, who is scheduled to become president of the new company.

The new company will set up a task force to consider ways to strengthen the brand image, Isozaki said.

It will be established in January to oversee operations at three domestic alcoholic beverage and soft drink companies — Kirin Brewery Co., Kirin Beverage Co. and Mercian Corp.

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