Hite Brewery has confirmed that it will not sell the Japanese unit of its spirits unit Jinro.

The South Korean company, which led a consortium to buy Jinro in 2005, was rumoured earlier this year to be considering an IPO of Jinro's Japanese unit, having reportedly dropped plans to sell the division.

Speaking to local reporters, Lee Jang-kyu, vice chairman of Hite, said: "We have no willingness to sell Jinro Japan."

Lee also told reporters that Hite is looking to open units in Russia, the US and several South-East Asian countries with a view to upping Hite's performance beyond its South Korean homeland.

Jinro, which accounted for 52.3% of soju sales in South Korea last year, was placed in receivership in 2003, after its debts rose to KRW1.72 trillion. Hite Brewery's consortium bought the company for KRW3.4 trillion.