Kirin Brewery Co. has posted a huge tumble in profits for the first quarter. The Japanese brewer said today (12 May) that group net profit for the three months to the end of March fell by a massive 72% to JPY987m (US$9.3m) from JPY3.56bn in the corresponding period last year.

The company blamed weak sales by its parent company and heavy promotion expenses ahead of the launch of its 'third beer' brand. Group operating profit fell by 70% to JPY4.41bn from JPY14.58bn in the quarter, with group sales sliding by 4.6% to JPY311.43bn.

Kirin was hit not only by a drop in sales as competition in its domestic market intensified, but also by an increase in promotional expenses ahead of the launch of its 'third beer' brand Kirin Dodogoshi on 6 April.

Despite the weak quarterly result, Kirin maintained its earnings projections for the full year to 31 December. The company continues to expect a 1.8% rise in group net profit to Y50bn on a 2.4% gain in sales to Y1.695 trillion.