Sapporo Holdings, the company which owns the Japanese Sapporo brewing business, posted a net loss of Y13.4 billion for the first half of the current year to June, up from a net loss of Y6.2 billion in the comparable six months last year.

The company, which last week forecast an increase in its first-half net loss, attributed the deepening losses to soft beer sales. It also said that sales volumes of happoshu, the low malt beer, had declined steeply following the tax increase on the product.

Sales at Sapporo were down by 10.3% at Y215.6 billion, while operating losses from its beer businesses increased to Y3.0 billion from Y1.7 billion in the first half of 2002.