Asahi Breweries has announced plans to increase its dividend payout ratio. The company said today (10 August) that it will raise its ratio to at least 20% on a consolidated basis in the year to December.

Asahi plans, however, to keep its dividend policy unchanged. According to local reports, the company may up the dividend amount dependant on improved performance. Nikkei Report said today that the annual dividend this year remains the same as 2004 at JPY15, but could rise to JPY17 if net profit projections are met.

Fiscal 2005 is the last year in Asahi's three-year plan, Nikkei Report noted, under which the company has earmarked JPY100bn for mergers and acquisitions as well as JPY60bn for dividends and stock buybacks.

In 2004, the brewer increased its annual dividend by JPY2 to JPY15 thanks to strong results.