Sapporo Holdings would expand soft drinks reach with Pokka buy

Sapporo Holdings would expand soft drinks reach with Pokka buy

Sapporo Holdings is set to acquire all outstanding shares in fellow Japanese food and drink group, Pokka, according to reports.

Pokka's two major shareholders, Advantage Partners LLP and Meiji Holdings, which own 56.7% and 21.65% of the firm respectively, are ready to sell out to Sapporo, said the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper yesterday (6 February). The paper cited unnamed sources with knowledge of the situation.

In 2009, Sapporo, the smallest of Japan's 'big four' brewers, bought a 21.65% stake in Pokka JPY10bn (US$121.5m). A full takeover of the group would boost Sapporo's soft drinks presence both at home and across Asia more generally. Pokka also operates 90,000 vending machines in Japan, three times the number that Sapporo currently operates.

All of Japan's big drinks companies are seeking to expand their reach beyond a sluggish domestic drinks market. Last month, Kirin Holdings signed a deal to establish a soft drinks joint venture in China with China Resources Enterprise.

Sapporo said last week that its full-year net profits for 2010 will be 50% higher than originally forecast.