Sapporo is on the hunt for takeovers

Sapporo is on the hunt for takeovers

Japanese brewer Sapporo Holdings is to invest about US$2.5bn over the next five years with an eye on foreign acquisitions, the company confirmed today (10 September).

Sapporo, which saw full-year profits slide 71% in February, will invest the money in boosting growth and expanding in the food and soft drinks categories, a spokesperson told just-drinks. Sapporo will potentially look at acquisitions as a means of upping its presence in the two categories, the spokesperson said.

"We are thinking of investing in foreign business. Acquisitions are a possibility. Both (domestic and international) would be possible, either might happen," the spokesperson said.

The further integration of the group's Japanese food arm Pokka Corp and its own non-alcoholic beverage unit made earlier this year, has formed "a good base" for the growth of its food and soft drinks business, the spokesperson said.

"We already have an alcohol business and soft drinks business ... so we will of course increase our alcohol beverage business, but to make more growth we think we need to expand the food and soft drinks business," he said.

Sapporo Beverage Co produces soft drinks for the Japanese market, while Japan-based Pokka includes confectionery and foodservice, as well as soft drinks.

One potential target for Sapporo could be UK-based Britvic, which last week announced that it is in talks with AG Barr over a possible merger. Japanese companies might be interested in swooping for Britvic as they look to continue to grow their presence beyond their domestic market.

Last year, Sapporo's alcoholic drink sales fell by 4% in Japan, as overall beer sales declined in the country, hurting other national brewers. Profits were also badly damaged by the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March last year.