The Japanese soft drinks company, Kirin Beverage Corp., is forecasting a 56% drop in consolidated pretax profit to Y2 billion for the first half of the fiscal year to the end of June. The company was originally forecasting a profit of Y4.4 billion.

The company attributed the drop to soft sales of canned coffee and Japanese tea drinks, as well as a delay in launching certain carbonated drinks. Although Kirin is forecasting a 7% rise in group sales to Y157 billion, this is Y5 billion below the company's previous forecast.

In volume terms, beverage sales are forecast to increase by 6% to 75.6m cases, 2.5m cases below the company's target figure.