February 8, 2010
just-drinks.com editor's weekly highlights
The London International Wine Fair is widely regarded as the key trade event for wine and spirits in the world today. Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2010, the Fair delivers a unique opportunity for producers, importers and buyers to focus on business.
There will be no Japanese 'Godzilla' on the global drinks scene, after Kirin Holdings and Suntory today said that they have agreed to disagree on how best to run a business.
In the end, then, it looks as if more than six months of talks and speculation have led to nothing.
Kirin's apparent willingness to walk away from a deal suggests that it believes it holds more of the cards - and is therefore able to name its terms. Following moves to acquire Lion Nathan and a stake in San Miguel Brewery last year, Kirin is making good on its strategy to expand outside of Japan's shrinking beer market. Its full-year profits for 2009 are expected to be significantly ahead of expectations.
However, it seems unlikely that the market will take a breakdown in talks as a positive for either company.
Both need to create synergies on a terminally depressed Japanese beer market, while it could be argued that only a combined company would have the clout necessary to compete with top multinationals in foreign markets.
On the features front last week, we looked to the future and pondered what would happen if the next ten years bring dramatic social changes that challenge the drinks sector in the way the past ten years have done for tobacco. Chris Losh, meanwhile, considers what the short-term future holds for the wine industry if, as we all hope, the worst really is behind us.
Finally, we want to know your thoughts for the future of the drinks world. Responses to our survey have been flooding in over the last few days. Your thoughts would be much appreciated.
Until next time...
Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
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