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JAPAN: Kirin Holdings FY sales, profits drop

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Kirin Holdings has blamed unfavourable currency rates and a weakened Japanese economy for a fall in sales and profits in 2009.

Net sales for the 12 months to the end of December slipped by 1% to JPY2.28tn (US$25.4bn), compared to JPY2.3tn in 2008, Kirin said today (10 February).

Profits tumbled by nearly 39% to JPY49bn, cycling a one-off gain that boosted results in the prior year. Operating profits fell 12% to JPY128.4bn.

Kirin published the figures as it announced the appointment of a new president and CEO, who will guide the group through the second three-year stage of its Vision 2015 strategy.

The firm blamed the 2009 sales and profits decline on foreign currency losses, which offset "good progress" in soft drinks, alcoholic drinks and food.

Alcoholic drinks sales fell by 7% to JPY1.1tn, with operating income down 6.5% to JPY103bn, said the group, which last year acquired full control of Australia's Lion Nathan and a 48% stake in San Miguel Brewery.

Soft drinks and food sales rose by 2.6% to JPY735bn, with operating income up 10.4% to JPY7bn.

Kirin reaffirmed its plan to achieve a "quantum leap" in profits by 2015, despite merger talks between and Japanese rival Suntory having broken down this week due to disagreement over ownership.

The firm aims to streamline operations and increase margins on a sluggish Japanese drinks market, while expanding in the Asia-Pacific region.

It expects 2010 net sales to fall by JPY58.4bn, to JPY2.22tn, and operating income to rise by JPY4.6bn to JPY133bn.


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