Monster says it is bigger in Japan

Monster says it is bigger in Japan

Monster Beverage Corp's CEO has blamed a weaker Australia for a Q4 sales slowdown in Asia but said Japan continues to grow.

In full-year results released on Thursday, Monster said its fourth-quarter sales in Asia rose 11.1% as the company raced to a strong overall performance in 2014. However, the Asia increase was down on Q3 when sales jumped by 79.4%. 

Speaking to analysts, Rodney Sacks admitted that Q4 did see a slowdown in some of Monster's international markets. He singled out Australia, saying that sales in the country were “lower, and that offset the increase somewhat”.

But Sacks said Japan, where Monster now produces its own products, remains strong and “contributed a meaningful operating profit as sales there continued to increase”.

In the past two years, US-based Monster has focussed on boosting international sales to compete against rival Red Bull, which has a stronger global presence. 

The company also hopes its tie-up with the Coca-Cola Co, which will see the Atlanta-based soft drinks maker take a minority stake in Monster, will strengthen its global ambitions. 

On Thursday, Sacks told analysts that launches in some countries had been deferred because of the deal. But he added that Coca-Cola will in the longer term give Monster access to “new geographies as well as access to new channels”.

Meanwhile, Sacks's CFO, Hilton Schlosberg, suggested that the US$2.15bn Coca-Cola is paying for the 16.7% stake in Monster is likely to find its way into shareholders' pockets.

“The board is examining or will be examining various ways to return that cash to stockholders,” Schlosberg said.