• Kyodo

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Two major Japanese beer brewers said Wednesday their sales and profits grew in line with a moderate economic recovery last year.

Asahi Group Holdings Ltd.’s group net profit for 2013 rose 8.0 percent from the previous year to ¥61.75 billion on ¥1.71 trillion in sales, up 8.6 percent, as beer and beerlike drink sales expanded in volume for the first time in 12 years.

Sapporo Holdings Ltd.’s net profit surged 75.2 percent to ¥9.45 billion on ¥509.83 billion in sales, up 3.5 percent.

Asahi raised its annual dividend to ¥43 per share from ¥28 the previous year, while Sapporo left its dividend unchanged at ¥7 per share.

For this year, Asahi expects to see an 8.5 percent rise in group net profit to ¥67 billion on ¥1.75 trillion in sales, up 2.1 percent.

But Sapporo projects its profit to dive 47.1 percent to ¥5 billion despite a 5.5 percent rise in sales to 537.¥7 billion.

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