Kirin upbeat on full-year

Kirin upbeat on full-year

Kirin Holdings has significantly increased its guidance for 2009 sales and profits, amid speculation that merger talks with Suntory have hit a snag over ownership.

Japan-based Kirin said this week that it expects net sales for the 12 months to the end of December to come in at JPY108bn (US$1.2bn), up 19% from the JPY91bn forecast made in February last year.

Net profits are set to reach JPY82bn, up 26% on the initial projection of JPY65bn, while operating income will hit JPY84bn, up 29% on the original forecast of JPY65bn.

"The revision is due to larger dividend income from affiliates than initially forecast," said the group.

There has been speculation this week that Kirin and rival group Suntory may reach a merger agreement by the end of next month.

However, reports out of Japan said that the talks have stumbled on the amount of control each firm will wield in the venture. Both firms confirmed that they were in talks in July 2009.

A combined Kirin and Suntory would create Japan's largest brewer and would help both groups compete more effectively on foreign markets against other multinational drinks companies.

The full announcement can be found here.