Leading Japanese beer maker Asahi Breweries Ltd reported today that it incurred a group net loss of 278 million yen in the January-March first quarter of fiscal 2002 to December, against a year-before loss of 5,045 million yen.

The company reported a recurring loss of ¥2,104m, against a year-before loss of ¥4,925m.
Under increasing competition in the Japanese market and as consumers turn away from beer, total sales fell 1.7% to ¥267,649m. Consumers in the country continue to turn instead to buy cheap "happoshu" beer-like products.
Asahi also posted an operating loss of ¥1,859m in the quarter.