Asahi Breweries has posted a lift in net profit for the first nine months of this year.

The Japanese company said today (25 October) that net profit for the nine months to the end of September rose by 9.9% on the corresponding period a year earlier, reaching JPY34.12bn (US$298.9m). The increase came on the back of growing sales, up by 1.7% to JPY1.08 trillion.

Operating profit, however, was flat at JPY61.38bn.

While Asahi's alcoholic beverages unit saw sales slip by 1.1% to JPY749.2bn, and operating profit inch up by 1.6% to JPY53.7bn, sales at the company's soft drinks business increased markedly by 14.9% to JPY207.4bn. Operating profit at the soft drinks unit slipped, however, by 0.9% to JPY7.6bn.

Moving forward, the brewer said it expects full-year sales to hit JPY1.48 trillion, which would be a 2.9% rise on 2006. Operating income is projected to slide by 0.8% on last year to JPY88bn, with net income expected to increase by 0.5% to JPY45bn.

Separately, Asahi said it will launch a tender offer to acquire the remaining shares in Asahi Soft Drinks. The company holds a 51.17% stake in the unit, and plans to offer JPY2,120 per share, equalling around JPY54.42bn. The tender will run until 6 December, the company said