Japan's second largest brewer Kirin could fall short of its first half profit targets, a newspaper said today.

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun has said that first-half operating profit fell short of its target by JPY1bn (US$8.9m) at JPY37bn.

The report went on to say that sales between January-June fell 2%, over the same period last year, to JPY740bn. The company had targeted sales of JPY780bn, up 3%, for the period.

In the report a Kirin spokeswoman agreed sales of beer and low-malt beer sales were slower than expected.

However, she added that profits were unlikely to diverge sharply from the company's forecast.