JAPAN: Kirin seeks partner for Asian expansion
Kirin Breweries is looking to expand into Asian markets but will do so with a partner. The Japanese beer maker is looking to increase its role in neighbouring markets but because of the cost of new set-ups it will do so with Lion Nathan, its part-owned Australian subsidiary. Kirin is looking to move into Vietnam and Thailand in the near future with India a major attraction in the longer term. The company has also looked at Russia and other European markets but is believed to have ruled out any move there. "We continue to examine some information," Kirin spokesman Hiroshi Fujikawa told just-drinks.com. "There are some opportunities and both of us [Kirin and Lion Nathan] are ready to get into it together. We are going to co-operate next time we get into something new." But Fujikawa says that before Kirin embarks on new ventures it will try to sort out its ailing Shanghai operations. Analysts believe that Kirin may bail out of China, possibly selling to Tsingtao of Qingdao, and use Lion Nathan to blaze a trail in China. That would leave Kirin free to concentrate on other Asian markets.
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