Sapporo Holdings, the company which owns the Japanese brewer, Sapporo, has reduced its full-year earnings forecast, and has said it will report a bigger net loss for the first half than anticipated, attributing the revised outlook to slow beer sales in the first half.

The company now expects to post a Y13.3 billion net loss for the first half, against its previous forecast for a Y8.4 billion net loss.

Sapporo also now expects to register a group net profit of Y1.4 billion on sales of Y476 billion for the year to the end of December 2003, against its previous forecast of a Y6.1 billion net profit on turnover of Y525 billion.

Japan's total beer market is reported to have declined by as much as 7.7% in the first half and Sapporo has suffered accutely with its market share dipping from 14.1% to 13.3% and its shipments down 13% to 31.95m cases.