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JAPAN: Price war impacts on brewers' shares

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Share prices in Japan's major brewers, Kirin, Asahi and Sapporo, have been sliding as investors show concern about the intensifying price war over happoshu, the low-malt beverage which retails for lower prices than standard beer.

Kirin fell to a new year-to-date low of Y833 at one point, down some Y30 from Tuesday. Asahi shares fell to a low of Y994, down Y13, and Sapporo slid by Y6 to Y315. One analyst described the current happoshu price war as a "war of attrition".

However, the news of the slide in share values came as Kirin published an improved profit forecast for the first half of the current fiscal year. The brewer said it expects to post operating profits in excess of Y5 billion for the half-year, representing a 4% increase on the first half of 2001, and slightly ahead of its earlier forecast of Y4.9 billion.


Companies: Sapporo Holdings

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