Kirin Beverage Corp. is to take a majority stake in Koiwai Dairy Products Co. The soft drink maker announced today that it will purchase 780,000 shares in Koiwai for Y2.4 billion (US$22.4m) on 1 April this year. The acquisition will give Kirin a 50.98% stake in the dairy product maker.

The deal will allow Koiwai to utilise Kirin's nationwide distribution network in Japan. The dairy company currently concentrates its distribution mainly in eastern Japan only.

Kirin intends to save distribution costs and integrate the two companies' chilled drink and food businesses by spinning off its chilled paper pack drink business to Koiwai in January next year.

Both Kirin Beverage and Koiwai are subsidiaries of Kirin Brewing Co.