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Asahi buys NZ firm for $1.3 billion in pre-mixed drinks

on 18/08/11 at 12:40 pm


Asahi Group Holdings (2502.T) is acquiring New Zealand beverage group Independent Liquor for $1.3 billion, giving the Japanese brewing giant a ready-to-drink cocktail maker to add to its stash of assets in the Oceania market.

Japanese brewers have been on an overseas spending spree, mainly in Asia and Oceania due to their proximity and growth prospects, as they look to make up for a contracting home market.

Overseas expansion is crucial to boost revenue growth as Asahi, the maker of Japan’s top-selling “Super Dry” beer, struggles with a home beer market that shrank more than 15 percent in shipment volumes in the last decade.

In its biggest acquisition, Asahi said on Thursday it will buy all outstanding shares of Flavoured Beverages Group, the parent company of Independent Liquor known for its “Woodstock Bourbon” and “Vodka Cruiser” brands, from private equity firms Unitas and Pacific Equity Partners (PEP).

“With domestic demand weak, I have absolutely no disagreement with Asahi’s strategy of seeking growth overseas,” said Shigeo Sugawara, senior investment manager at Sompo Japan NipponKoa Asset Management.



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