Japan's Asahi Breweries plans to build a JPY400bn (US$4.5 bn) war chest for overseas acquisitions by using loans and revenue.

Company officials have predicted it will earn JPY360bn (US$4bn) by 2012 from overseas holdings, including Schweppes Australia and Tsingtao Brewery in China.

After dividend payments, the company estimates it will have JPY225bn (US$2.5bn), plus JPY25-30 bn (US$288-335m) in savings from cost cutting at its core spirits businesses.

Asahi also plans to borrow up to JPY170bn (US$1.9bn) for major acquisitions, while keeping its debt to equity ratio below one.

"There will be a lot of consolidation in the industry, and we want to play a major role," Asahi Breweries' president Hitoshi Ogita told reporters in Tokyo earlier this month.

Asahi faces an anaemic domestic beer market and a merger of rivals Kirin and Suntory.

For more on Asahi's three-year plan, click here.