Asahi Breweries has confirmed that it will transfer most of its soft drinks operations to sister company LB Co., according to local reports.

LB, bought by Asahi last year, will focus on the Japanese group's chilled beverage business, the Asia Pulse news agency said today (6 December).

The move comes as Japanese demand for chilled drinks is expected to rise by over 5% this year, generating sales of around JPY460bn (US$4bn).

Asahi Soft Drinks currently outsources production of chilled drinks and sells the beverages through wholesalers. This operation will fall to LB, but Asahi Soft Drinks will still oversee around 1,000 vending machines across the nation, the report said.

Speculation surrounding the restructuring of Asahi's soft drinks operations first surfaced in August.