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JAPAN: Charges drag down Kirin Holdings' nine-month profits

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  • Currency, restructuring hit profits
  • Sales drop by 4%
  • Hails demand for alcohol-free beer in Japan

Kirin Holdings has reported a 42% drop in net profits for the first nine months of 2010, due to lower sales and one-off charges for restructuring and pensions.

Profits slipped to JPY24.2bn (US$299m) for the nine months to the end of September, Kirin said today (5 November). The Japanese brewer was dragged down by foreign exchange losses, restructuring costs, higher taxes and a one-off charge related to its pension scheme.

Net sales for the period also fell, by 4% to JPY1.6tn. Kirin reported a 16% drop in soft drinks and food sales, which it blamed on a change in reporting period for its National Foods business in Australia.

There was better news for the group in alcoholic drinks. Japan's beer market remains under pressure from an ageing population and tough economic conditions, but Kirin hailed stronger-than-expected growth for its alcohol-free beer, Kirin Free.

It said that it has increased its 2010 sales target for Kirin Free by 20% and that the brand has already surpassed total sales for 2009. So-called "new genre", beer-like drinks also performed well over the nine months.

Those aside, a combination of cost savings in Japan and exchange rate gains from beer sales in Australia from Lion Nathan, which Kirin took full control over last year, helped Kirin to report a 2% rise in sales and a 9.5% increase in operating profits in its alcoholic beverages business.

Group operating profits increased by 21% to JPY113.6bn for the nine months.

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