Leading Japanese brewer, Asahi Breweries Ltd, has tripled its half-year profit forecast. The company said that cost cutting had improved profitability in spite of softer sales. Asahi said it expected a group net profit of Y10.7 billion ($90m) for the first six months to June against its previous forecast of Y3 billion. But Asahi lowered its half-year group sales forecasts by 4.2% from an earlier forecast of Y634 billion.

The forecast profit figure would be a significant improvement on the first half of last year when Asahi registered a group net profit of Y2.45 billion.

Japan's second-largest brewer, Kirin Brewery Co Ltd, also recently increased its half-year group net profit forecast by 82% to 10 billion yen. Like Asahi, the company also lowered its sales forecast.