Kirin Brewery Co is set to invest heavily in boosting its profile in Asia, according to press reports. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun said yesterday that the company plans to invest up Y100 billion (US$887m) over a three-year period to December 2006 on mergers and acquisitions in China and Southeast Asia. The newspaper did not cite sources in the story.

As well as expanding in Asia, the newspaper said that Kirin plans to bolster its weak lineups of wine, 'shochu' distilled liquor and other products in its domestic sales through purchases of sales rights and mergers and acquisitions.

The company plans to have a group free cash flow of around Y46 billion this year and similar amounts for the next two years. It intends to fund its business expansion by tapping its cash reserves and issuing corporate bonds.

Kirin is aiming to raise group sales for the year to December 2006 to Y1.86 trillion, a rise of 16% from the previous year, excluding sales growth from mergers and acquisitions, the newspaper said.