Three of Japan's leading breweries have raised their 2001 sales targets for beer and four of the country's major brewers posted lower group operational profits.

Asahi Breweries Ltd posted an operating profit fall of 23% to 26.5bn yen and raised sales targets for its low-malt beer, Honnama to 43m cases, from 20m.

According to local press reports, Sapporo Breweries Ltd, which posted its first half-year (parent only) net loss posted a 23% fall in operating profit to Y2.7bn. And revised its sales expectations for low-malt beer, expecting sales to reach 86m cases, one million more than earlier projections.

Kirin has also raised expectations for low-malt beer by 15% and cut regular beer sales projections by 8%, expecting to sell a combined 214.6m cases.

Suntory, which has a 10% market share posted a 28% drop in operating profit to Y24.8bn leaving its 2001 outlook unchanged at 60m cases. And according to a report by Dow Jones Suntory said sales from its food division rose 14.9% from the previous year to Y316.5bn on sales of its oolong tea, mineral water and Boss coffee brand.