JAPAN: Suntory Holdings toasts FY high with alcohol-free beer
- Full-year net profits jump by 56% to JPY62.6bn
- Net sales up by 3.5% to JPY1.8tn
- Operating profits rise by 7% to JPY114.2bn
- Alcohol-free beer, whisky highballs lead growth
Suntory Holdings upbeat on broad-based sales momentum
Suntory Holdings has reported higher sales and profits in 2011, thanks to domestic demand for its alcohol-free beer, and overseas business.
The Japanese brewer said that it is planning to launch more alcohol-free drinks in 2012 after consumer demand for its All-Free beer exceeded expectations. Brand sales tripled in 2011, to 5.88m cases, it said today (9 February).
The rise helped Suntory to buck a general decline in Japan's beer market and increase company-wide net sales by 3.5% for the 12 months to the end of December, to JPY1.8tn (US$23.3bn). Despite gains overseas, Japan still accounted for close to 79% of the company's sales.
Operating profits increased by 7% versus 2010, to JPY114.2bn. Net profits, meanwhile, jumped by 56% to JPY62.6bn, said the group.
In addition to alcohol-free beer, Suntory also reported higher soft drinks volumes, lifted by a spike in demand for bottled water following the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March last year. Domestic soft drinks sales rose by 2% to 382m cases.
The group also reported fresh demand for whisky highballs in Japan, lifting the performance of its spirits division. Further afield, it said that Orangina Schweppes and Frucor divisions enjoyed "steady sales growth" for the year.
Going into 2012, Suntory said that it will continue to reduce its reliance on Japan, primarily by expanding further into Indonesia. It will also increase its marketing spend on Midori melon liqueur and Bowmore Scotch whisky.
For its current year, the firm expects net sales to rise by a further 3.5%, with operating profits to grow by 1.6%. Net profits will fall by 31.3% as the firm cycles one-off gains from 2011.
For the company's announcement, click here.
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