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Japanese drinks major Suntory is mulling acquisitions in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa to grow its international sales by 40% in five years, a company official has confirmed to just-drinks.

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The move will help the company double its annual sales and expand outside Japan's more stagnant domestic market "where it's becoming increasingly difficult" to expand, the official said.

Suntory will consider targets with over $1bn in annual sales. Despite launching as many as 200 new products a year, these days it's difficult to grow an international drinks company without acquisitions, Suntory chairman Nobuhiro Torrii was quoted as saying in Japanese media.

Suntory made a big bet on Western Europe when it bought strong-selling Spanish soda brand Orangina Schweppes for a reported price of $2.5bn last year. The firm will continue to expand its key Trina, Schweppes and La Casera brands in Spain and also across Europe. La Casera will be launched in Italy in the coming months.


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